Take responsibility for your own wellbeing

Take responsibility for your own wellbeing

Resilience Centre

Take responsibility for your own wellbeing

A sense of wellbeing isn’t something you stumble upon or rely on other people or doctors to fix. It is a state of physical and emotional happiness that you have to nurture and work on constantly.

Wellbeing: an elusive term

Wellbeing has been broadly defined from two perspectives. The clinical perspective defines wellbeing as the absence of negative conditions while the psychological perspective defines wellbeing as the prevalence of positive attributes. It includes a person’s goods, benefits, advantages, interests, prudential value, welfare, happiness, flourishing, quality of life, etc.

In Madeleine L’Engle’s book, A Wrinkle in Time, a character says: “Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” This means that we are responsible for our own wellbeing.

Writing the sonnet

To experience a feeling of wellbeing, you need to find ways to bring positive emotions and enjoyment into your daily routine. Here are a few things that can guide and empower you to take charge of your own wellbeing:

  • Take responsibility: Stop being the victim and start becoming an active participant in turning around your health and state of mind.
  • Come up with a plan: To improve your health and emotional wellness, set goals that are realistic and measurable so you can monitor your progress and achieve success.
  • Put together your team: One of the biggest keys to successful lifestyle change is having a good support network. People on your team can be your doctor, chiropractor, therapist, health coach, nutritionist, personal trainer, family and friends.
  • Join the “movement” movement: Research has revealed that aerobic exercise, as well as yoga and meditation, not only promotes health and energy, but also helps to alleviate mild depression and anxiety.
  • Give your body the sleep it needs: Happy people tend to live active, vigorous lives, yet reserve time for rejuvenating sleep. Sleep deprivation can result in fatigue, diminished alertness and gloomy moods.
  • Seek work and leisure that engage your skills: Happy people can usually be found in an environment that challenges them without overwhelming them.
  • Give priority to close relationships: Close, intimate friendships with those who care deeply about you can help you get through difficult times. Cherish your closest relationships by not taking them for granted, and share time together.
  • Focus beyond the self: It is important to reach out to others in need. Doing good to others also makes one feel good.
  • Keep a gratitude journal: Taking time each day to pause and reflect on some positive aspect of your life (such as friends, family, health, freedom, education, natural surroundings) may increase your wellbeing.
  • Nurture your spiritual self: For many people to focus on spirituality and religion provides a support community and a sense of purpose and hope. Research indicates that people who nurture religious or spiritual interests tend to be happier and cope better with crises.

Decide what makes you happy, then assess areas of your life where this may be lacking and set out to improve the situation. Healing comes from taking responsibility: to realise that it is you and no one else that creates your thoughts, your feelings and your actions.

Barwais, F. Definitions of wellbeing, quality of life and wellness. Retrieved from: http://nwia.idwellness.org/
Quotes by Madeleine L’Engle. Retrieved from: http://www.goodreads.com

(Revised by M van Os)