Well-being: it’s not rocket science!

Well-being: it’s not rocket science!

21 January 2016

When it comes to our attitudes and approaches to human well-being we could be accused of being very inconsistent.

It is easy for us to become overwhelmed by the endless stream of information that comes to us from the medical, health and well-being constituencies out there.

Every day we read about new research, new data, new approaches to the way that we eat, work and generally live our lives.

What has been lost in the deluge of information are the basic issues that are uncontroversial, have been known for a long time, makes sense and frankly are just plain common sense.

I will set out just a few of those further down this blog, but first it might be useful for us to ask why it is that we seem to be so easily knocked off our stride when it comes to thinking about the basics?

In part I think it′s to do with natural human curiosity. We like new things, we like new ideas and we like a surprise! In addition to that we have tended to think that sensible things can′t be simple. In a more cluttered and busy environment generally, this can get confused with thinking that solutions to some of our challenges  should be somehow complex.

We have become a little used to thinking that great ideas should be complex ideas. And that something might have more value if it has more complexity.

When it comes to human wellness I′m afraid that the fundamental building blocks of human well-being are completely simple.

It′s not that there isn′t complexity in the processes that these simple behaviours and acts promote or engage in us. It′s just that what we actually need to do to experience human well-being isn′t actually rocket science.

So it′s a back to basics approach that I think is most useful. You don′t need to buy a fitbit and track your every physical movement to know that, put simply, you need your body to be in motion in some way for a reasonable period of time during a day.

That was simple right? These basics of well-being are as follows.

Eat a balanced diet. Make sure your body moves around in a way that will stimulate raising of your heart rate for approximately 20 minutes or so a day.

Get enough sleep, currently reckoned to be between 7 to 8 hours per 24 period. Drink enough fluids, preferably good quality water.

Understand the difference between being stressed and not stressed and then favour activities that mean you experience more being not stressed than being stressed in an average day.

Good relationships with people will make you feel emotionally better than bad ones. So focus on positive relationships more than you do difficult ones.

Realise that your emotions drive your life and how you feel is the most important aspect of human well-being.

Make time to play and pursue pleasurable activities. Spend enough time in your daily life considering meaning and purpose of your life and making sure that you are aligning to it to avoid feelings of futility and lack of motivation.

So there you go! It isn′t actually rocket science.

If we can focus on these basics and ignore the frothy techno driven health speak that floods us from all departments of the media then we will be able to create a sustainable base for our lives.

Finally I do realise that it is easier said than done. I have finally managed to get into a daily exercise routine after several years of struggling to do so. How I did that is the topic of another blog, but I realise that the next most important point is to answer a question for ourselves around how do we create consistency to engage with these basics.

That too I will address in another blog.

But if you do anything today about your own well-being I suggest you just go back to the simplicity of the basics and ask yourself how you are doing with them.