The Better Health Channel, a website funded by the Victorian government in Australia, they describe well-being as “how you feel about yourself and your life. Happily, for those of us who live with significant health challenges, it doesn’t require any particular level of physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health. They Include a how-to bullet list:

How to achieve well-being

  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with family and friends.
  • Make regular time available for social contact.
  • Try to find work that you find enjoyable and rewarding, rather than just working for the best pay.
  • Eat wholesome, nutritious foods.
  • Do regular physical activity.
  • Become involved in activities that interest you.
  • Join local organizations or clubs that appeal to you.
  • Set yourself achievable goals and work towards them.
  • Try to be optimistic and enjoy each day.

(I have a bone to pick with their wording: If well-being is how you feel, it’s not something that can be achieved. You feel what you feel. Well-being achieved! What we are after here is to feel happier or more fulfilled.)

On one hand, such a list can be helpful. On the other, it may be overwhelming.

Here are some suggestions for how you might with your journal to experiment with improving your well-being:

  1. Divide the list above into three categories: “I am happy where I am,” “I would like to make some changes,” and “now is not the time to deal with this.” Be gentle with yourself.
  2. Add the words “how can I” in front of each of the items in your “make changes” category.
  3. Read over the resulting list slowly, pausing on each item. How do you feel when you look at that question? Excited? Irritated? Exhausted? Write a feeling word next to each item on the list.
  4. Choose the item you feel most positively about and brainstorm ideas for changes you would like to see. Thank simple, tiny, quick. This is an expansive process. Ask friends for ideas. Google. Play.
  5. When you have a happy list, repeat the process described in #3. What change might bring you the biggest satisfaction?
  6. Gather whatever ingredients, tools, or resources you need to try the item about which you felt most positively.
  7. Make an appointment on your calendar for your trial.
  8. Try it!
  9. Write about the experience in your journal. If it went well, make more appointments. If not, do you want to try and again (repeat steps 7 – 9), or abandon it in favor of something else (repeat steps 3 – 9)?

Please be kind to yourself. Trying something new takes courage. You may feel awkward or uncomfortable at the beginning. You can process those feelings in your journal and/or with a friend.

What facet of well-being will be your next brave experiment?