How You Can Improve Your Quality of Life

“What we see depends mainly on what we are looking for.” —John Lubbock

What does Quality of Life mean to you? How often do you think or reflect on your quality of life?

There are two basic ways to measure your Quality of Life:

One is to evaluate how satisfying your life is by looking at the externals—your level of success in your work life, your involvement in your community, your relationship status both with a mate and with family and friends, activities relating to your physical health and well-being.

The second way is to evaluate your life by your internal experience—how you feel about yourself as a person, how content you feel—as in living and liking your values and your character strengths, how productive you feel, how you value and enjoy your relationships, how you deal with health issues. A major influence in this category is attitude—not what happens to you, but how you direct and react to events in your life.

Think about this and make a list (best done in writing) of what aspects, activities and attitudes describe your quality of life. Which things add to or detract from how good your life feels to you? (For a downloadable survey of areas in your life to evaluate, go to www.4AQualityLife.com and click on “Survey”)

For some people, quality of life is measured by what is happening in your life—external events as listed above, often thought of as what is happening to you. You may or may not consider to what extent you are making those things happen. If you see yourself as influencing events, you will likely feel a sense of being in control, and see that as improving your quality of life. If your focus is on how much control you have, you will likely see this as a value and spend time and energy on gaining and maintaining control.

For others quality of life is measured more by their internal experience, how they feel about what is happening: what their values are and to what extent they are living those values.

Your values can be things like compassion, honesty, gratitude, forgiveness—of yourself and others, humility, integrity, love, purpose, reliability and resilience. Take a few minutes to write these down. Give some thought to how you define, recognize and reinforce your values—or if at times you question any of them and reevaluate, or consider other values you want to adopt.

When you can identify and evaluate your quality of life, both internally and externally, you are taking a proactive step towards creating meaning, value, contentment and joy.

“The quality of our life is directly proportional to the quality of our thoughts.” — Avijeet Das

If some of the values you have adopted don’t resonate with you, ask yourself why. For some, the values you hold are ones you have learned from others and haven’t thought if they are real for you. For others, it can simply be due to not having taken the time for introspection. For some it can indicate a lack of self-esteem or trust in yourself, resulting in negative thinking. The writing exercises mentioned above can be one way to help you get to know—and like yourself better. You can also make a list of things you can do to improve the quality of your life, both in your thought process and actions.

In my experience, both personally and professionally, I have found that our internal experience is a stronger determinate of quality of life. If you genuinely say and do things to help you feel you’re a better person, recognize you have much to contribute to your own well-being and that of others (we all do have this ability), what follows is that changes happen in your external life. The following are some examples.

Example 1: when you make a mistake/poor choice—in your personal or professional life, your go-to place is to ask yourself: “What can I learn from this experience?” That is the purpose and benefit from making mistakes. Your attitude is: Nothing is ever a mistake if you learn from it.

Example 2: when health issues come up, you take a proactive approach—you learn as much as you can about the condition by reading from reputable sources and seeking a doctor’s help. Then you focus your thoughts and energies on what you can do rather than what you can’t do.

Example 3: When you suffer a loss of a person you care about, you let yourself grieve, acknowledge the pain, and then appreciate how this person has added to the value of your life. We don’t grieve when a person has been a negative experience for us.

Recognize there will be times when you’re just not up to following through on the above examples. You may just need to let yourself feel sad, hurt, angry or resentful. This is usually because those feelings haven’t been adequately acknowledged and suppressing them takes up energy and space, keeping you from freeing your energy to be more proactive. As a therapist working with people who were hurt, angry, or depressed, I often found that people needed some time to feel the depth of their emotions before they were ready to let them go and find ways to utilize proactive activities such as mental or physical exercise, developing new attitudes, perspective or behaviors, or meditation. It’s been described by these people as “I needed to find the bottom of my sadness/loneliness/anger/pain, etc. so there was no place else to go but up.” If this is true for you, you might need to find a trusted friend or therapist to help you through what can be a very difficult and scary process.

If you make the assumption that life should be easy, you will likely have a more difficult time coping with things that happen that are truly out of your control. The trick is to recognize what you do have influence over, and what skills and attitudes you can develop to create a more positive approach to your quality of life.

“Your mind is a garden
Your thoughts are the seeds.
You can grow flowers
Or you can grow weeds.”


–Author unknown

I’d really like to hear from you on any ideas you have about improving quality of life, and to share it with the other readers of this blog (your name will not be used).

Check out my website: www.ShelliChosak.com to learn about my award winning book: Your Living Legacy, How Your Parenting Style Shapes the Future for You and Your Child.

Please feel free to share this blog with anyone who might be interested.

Best,
Shelli

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