We only have one life. And I guess we all agree we should live that life as happy as possible. But how can we do that? Essential ingredients to happiness are health, freedom and well-being. In this article, I will focus on how to optimize your well-being to achieve freedom and happiness.
I will define what well-being actually is, why it’s important and how we can improve it. I will introduce a model that I co-created with the coaches from Live better, not perfect which we called the Well-Being Triangle, and I will show how we can practically appy this model to continuously optimise our well-being.
What Is Well-Being?
When you ask somebody “what is well-being” everybody probably has some implicit, vague idea of what it means. Everybody can say more or less “I feel well” or “I don’t feel so well.” And obviously, it is important to feel well. We only have one life and we want to be well and happy.
However, in order to improve well-being, we need to be more precise and better understand what well-being actually means. Then we can identify the areas where we may have shortcomings and subsequently work on improving those.
Well-being in short is described as feeling generally good about yourself and your life. Well-Being is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction. A more detailed and scientific definition of well-being is the following. Well-being is:
- The combination of feeling good and functioning well.
- The experience of positive emotions such as happiness and contentment.
- The development of one’s potential.
- Having some control over one’s life.
- Having a sense of purpose.
- Experiencing positive relationships.
From this definition, it becomes clear that well-being is a broad concept that covers many areas. It is a complex combination of a person's physical, mental, emotional, and social health factors combined with personal growth. If we don’t feel well, that can mean that one or several of those areas need work. The good news is that almost all of the areas can be worked on to improve well-being overall.
Why Is Well-Being Important?
Consider this example:
Recently I met Andrew. Andrew was concerned because getting older started to leave marks on his health, happiness, and life in general. He was stressed, overweight, slept badly, and only had little time for his family.
We worked together and achieved substantial improvements in all areas of Andrew's Well-Being. I’ll get back to this example and concrete details later in this article. But it shows two things: First, our well-being is essential for our happiness. Second, we can and must optimize our well-being constantly.
It’s like Jim Rohn (self-made millionaire, author, and motivational speaker): “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
And it’s so true. What’s the value of all the money, houses, cars, etc if you are not healthy, not free, or don’t have supporting and loving people around you? Well-being is the critical foundation for happiness and freedom. I love how Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert) put this into the easy-to-understand Happiness Formula. He describes this formula in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big (affiliate link).
How can we now go about improving well-being successfully in a structured way?
Introducing The Live Better, Not Perfect Well-Being Triangle
Together with a group of coaches, we co-created the Live better, not perfect (Livebnp) community. We want to empower people to achieve better health and happiness by improving all key aspects of Well-Being. At the center of our coaching method stands our Live better, not perfect Well-Being Triangle.
The triangle represents the three areas, which are essential for well-being:
We help our community to improve all these areas and as a result achieve better well-being and happiness as a whole. It’s important to note, that while we can work on the three areas individually, they all are very strongly interconnected and influence each other. So, if we achieve improvement in one area, it has positive side effects on others. This can work like a spiral lifting our community members up.
Let’s take a look at the three areas in more detail.
We have health at the bottom of our triangle because it is the basis for everything else. In our model we split health into three areas:
Physical health describes how well your body is. That includes your strength, endurance, mobility, energy levels, how often you are sick, how quickly you can recover from illness or injury, your weight and body fat, and eating habits.
Mental health describes how well your thinking and behaving is. That typically includes how well you handle cognitive processes, focus, attention, alertness, reasoning, and thinking abilities. A mentally healthy person person functions productively, and makes appropriate decisions.
Emotional health describes how well your feelings are. It refers to the ability to manage your feelings and emotions, especially when stirred up. An emotionally healthy person can monitor one’s feelings. They can express their emotions and control their behavior during pleasant as well as unpleasant life events.
As part of the Live better, not perfect community, we cover all three areas with certain levers. The most effective levers are the right nutrition (“right” for one’s individual goals and circumstances), movement (exercise) and recovery (sleep, yoga, cold exposure etc). We also help our community members to think about and implement a healthy balance in life including stress management.
The second area of the Livebnp Well-Being Triangle addresses people and relationships. Human beings are herd animals. Throughout history we only survived because we could rely on each other in highly coordinated groups.
But strong and positive relationships with people is not only necessary for plain survival but also for our health and well-being. The American Psychological Association outlines research that details how important close emotional connections are for health and well-being. The research is so convincing that psychologists call for making strong relationships a public health priority.
Some of the benefits of social relationships include lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and more trusting and cooperative relationships. Strong, healthy relationships can also help to strengthen your immune system, help you recover from disease, and may even lengthen your life.
On the flip side, loneliness can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, high blood pressure, increased cortisol, obesity, or weakened immune system. Loneliness is also a risk factor for antisocial behavior, depression (including risk of suicide), and addiction (smoking, alcohol, other drugs).
Members of the Livebnp community will get access to tools and methods to gain awareness of potential shortcomings in the people area of the triangle. Once we know, we can actively address that. And you are not alone. Coaches are here to help, and of course there is the whole Livebnp community, which is already partly addressing any “people problems.”
Growth is a holistic topic that is found in the other areas too (health and people), but is an area in our Well-Being Triangle in it’s own right to cover personal growth. Personal growth (also referred to as personal development or self-growth) describes necessary activities to develop your capabilities and potential, facilitate employability, and enhance quality of life and the realization of dreams and aspirations. It has a positive impact on your life and increases your overall well-being.
Another well-known model to describe this is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow Pyramid). At the very top is “self-actualization” as the highest level of development. Self-actualization is defined as "the full realization of one's potential" and one's "true self." With the growth area of our Well-Being Triangle we are aiming at achieving this state, too.
Some concrete examples for self-actualization or personal growth include:
- Learning to control anger
- Learning to overcome procrastination
- Learning to overcome laziness
- Learning to be more polite and considerate
- Becoming a more responsible person
- Learning new things and developing new skills
- Changing your mindset and becoming more positive
In fact, to achieve well-being and happiness there is no other way than working continuously on personal growth. If you stop growing, you start shrinking. Just like a plant needs water to grow, you need personal growth to develop as a person to reach your full potential.
Some things are important to realise: You have the power to make changes and grow in any area of your life. This counters directly what Martin Seligman called “learned helplessness.” We do have the power to address almost anything. And if you cannot change the thing, you can at least change your attitude towards the thing.
Growth goals may seem overwhelming. But the good news is that they can be broken down into smaller pieces and a step-by-step process. With consistent action in the right direction, growth and personal development is inevitable. A useful analogy may be the Sorites Paradox. This phenomenon asks the question “when is a heap of sand a heap of sand?”
The answer is irrelevant. You start with one grain of sand. That’s no heap of sand. You add a second grain of sand. That’s also no heap of sand. You add a third, a fourth etc. You keep on adding small pieces, step by step, day by day. And at some point, you have the heap of sand in front of you. This is a perfect analogy for personal growth. Consistency leads to progress.
In the Livebnp community, we cover the following themes in the growth area of the Well-Being Triangle:
- Health (the other area of the Well-Being Triangle)
- People (the other area of the Well-Being Triangle)
- Mindset & Attitude (how you look at life)
- Occupational (how to become more effective at “work”)
- Process (how to get better at getting better)
- Existential (meaning, your purpose in life)
How to Leverage the Well-Being Triangle In Practice
A group of top coaches worldwide came together with the goal of creating a method to truly help people improve their well-being. At the core is the Well-Being Triangle. But it is also much more. It is a community that interacts via a platform and is supported by coaches:
The Live better, not perfect community.
Our mission is to empower millions of people to consistently strive for optimal well-being. We execute this mission by offering the following benefits to our community members:
- Constant improvement of your well-being and ultimately freedom and happiness
- Gaining awareness that you are yourself empowered to change
- Learning about all essential aspects of well-being (that also includes practical methods and tools)
- Accountability to stay on track and achieve goals
- Expert advice from a network of experienced coaches covering all areas of well-being
- Motivation to do what’s right by exchanging with like-minded people
We deliver these benefits to our members through a range of mechanisms. All these mechanisms are centered around the Livebnp Well-Being Triangle. Our members can leverage:
- Live Q&A calls with experts
- Online courses
- Exclusive members' discussion forum
- Expert talks and webinars
- Resource Library including exercises, recipes, health studies etc.
All of these features are offered through an online platform. We purposefully decided to go platform-supported community first and one-on-one coaching second because we believe that we can have a far greater impact on peoples’ well-being. This model scales incredibly well. We love to use the lighthouse analogy. One lighthouse is enough to direct an immense amount of ships safely into a harbor. Without a lighthouse, you’d need a huge amount of tugboats to guide ships into the harbor. But that is a lot more work, less effective, and does not scale.
With Live better, not perfect we want to offer a platform-supported community that like a lighthouse guides people to optimal well-being.
Selected Success Stories
You remember Andrew from the beginning of this article? Well, here are more details about what exactly happened.
Andrew and I started to work together following the principles of Livebnp. Within a few weeks Andrew lost 9 kg. More importantly he is now able to keep that weight without suffering. We made a range of clever and effective eating and lifestyle changes. He formed habits that will help him keep this new lifestyle forever.
He now exercises regular and makes movement a part of his daily routine. For instance, he walks his kids to school in the morning instead of taking the car. He improved his sleep hygiene (no phones 1 hour before sleep, darker room with temperature control) that resulted in much better sleep quality. He makes dinner time with his family a priority.
As a consequence Andrew’s stress levels significantly reduced. His well-being improved. Most importantly, Andrew enjoys his life a lot more now. What's more, we gave Andrew the knowledge and tools to self-sufficiently continue to optimse his well-being.
Simone is another happy Livebnp community member. Here is her story:
Simone has been on a journey to optimise her well-being for a couple of years now and has learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work for her. While already making great progress in the past, life has thrown her some curveballs along the way and it proved to be difficult to stay consistent and disciplined at times. Simone joined Livebnp to get energised by the positive and motivating vibes from the live calls and expand her knowledge by way of our self-study courses. She enjoys the discussions with coaches and like-minded individuals and could already implement some things from the first (optional) assignment about awareness.
How to Optimize Your Well-Being to Achieve Freedom and Happiness
We are not helpless.
We are empowered to address almost everything that makes us unhappy or impacts our well-being as an essential driver for happiness. Well-being is a complex combination of a person's physical, mental, emotional and social health factors combined with personal growth. I described here how to optimize your well-being to achieve freedom and happiness.
To empower millions of people to consistently strive for optimal well-being, we created the Live better, not perfect community. Our method is centered around the Well-Being Triangle and through it our members achieve constant improvement of their well-being, awareness of shortcomings and how to address them, knowledge about all essential aspects of well-being, accountability, expert advice, and motivation from like-minded people in the community.
Ready to invest 1 € per day in your health and well-being?
Join us on our website livebnp.com.