When I first began to dig in to resources focused on happiness, or what I later began to call well-being, I realized many of them talked about the idea that well-being is not just one big thing. Instead, it can (and should) be broken out into multiple aspects. In order to understand what was causing my unhappiness, I needed to look at each aspect separately. Some may be perfectly in tact, and others may need work.
I found several different versions of these aspects, or pillars, but ultimately decided that the following five worked best for me:
- Mental – 2
- Physical – 2
- Career – 4
- Social – 3
- Financial – 5
Some resources talked about prioritizing the pillars, but I ended up deciding against this. I feel like they all equally support my well-being, so if one’s out of whack, it needs work.
After defining my five pillars, I sat down and rated my level of satisfaction with each on a simple scale of 1 to 5 (5 = fantastic, 1 = miserable, 3 = average). In order to keep this front and center, I stuck a note card on my bathroom wall with the ratings (originals listed above).
This was huge first step for me. Although my husband thought I was going crazy, I got a clear reminder each day of where I should focus to improve my happiness: I needed to start focusing on my mental and physical well-being.