In 2010, research scientists from Gallup conducted a comprehensive global study of people in more than 150 countries, to try to determine what the elements of well-being were that were universal, across all developed countries.
They worked with other leading economists, anthropologists and psychologists to tabulate the responses to come up with a list of the five ‘pillars’ of wellbeing, and the following is what they determined.
In the almost ten years that have passed since Gallup published the study, some people have tweaked this list a little, changing the terms to fit their marketing or philosophies but mostly it has remained the same.
According to Gallup these were the universal things that people needed to live their best life’. However, Gallup determined that 66% of people globally are doing well in at least one of these areas. BUT only 7% are thriving in all five areas. While the data is now nearly a decade old, it is believed that not too much has changed.
But just what do these terms really mean and mean to you and your personal wellbeing? Here’s a basic overview:
This category focuses on business and the progression of your career. Most people spend a huge chunk of their adult lives at work and so what they do, and how they feel about what they do has a huge impact on their overall satisfaction and well as their mental and even physical wellbeing,
People with ‘high career well-being’ wake up everyday feeling excited and enthusiastic about how they will spend their day. It excites them enough to influence the world in a positive way and are passionate about the work they do. Those who dislike what they do feel almost exactly the opposite way, and those who are just ‘going through the motions’ to earn a salary can’t be said to have great career well being either.
Our social well being is influenced by the people around us, including our friends, co-workers, family and romantic partners. Our relationships and friendships should help to motivate us in order to achieve a higher social well-being. Social well-being is about having strong relationships and love in your life.
Financial well-being is managing your economic life and having enough money to live at least comfortably. To achieve an adequate financial well-being, must understand how to manage and spend your money The financial element is important. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but you will be happier when you master your finances and ensure your basic needs are met.
Having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis. Exercising regularly, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet and getting enough sleep will encourage you to have good physical well-being.
People who thrive in their community life contribute to their community based on their own strengths, likes and passions for the betterment of others. Involvement may start small but eventually will lead to a major impact.
How Everything Ties Together
As you can see, all five individual wellness elements link together. If you are happy at work you are likely to be under a lot less stress. And as stress can have a major negative impact on your health, those who love their job will have a higher physical well-being score. If you have enough money you are more likely to be able to participate in more community and social activities.
Going through the list it is not hard to see why so few people manage to thrive in all five areas. But it is a goal worth aiming for. Here are some examples. Save a little more, start thinking about your retirement and your financial wellbeing will increase. Spend more time with family and friends and your social wellbeing will increase. Add 15 minutes more to your workout routine and your physical wellbeing ‘score’ will increase.
No one’s life is perfect, or ever likely to be. But by learning about these wellness elements you will be better able to focus on the areas you struggle with to ensure you make changes – even small ones – that will improve your overall wellbeing and, conversely, your life.