The Science of Well-Being

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Design a life you love

Making the Most of Your Life

(Some Guiding Principles)

The following principles.. strategies or approaches.. aim to help us live with happiness in our heart and a satisfying sense of progress.

These are principles that, for well-being scientist Nick Baylis, "have shown themselves time and again to be guiding lights in all of the wonderful lives [he's] studied these past ten years."


From Learning from Wonderful Lives: Lessons from the study of well-being brought to life by the personal stories of some much admired individuals, (© Nick Baylis, 2005).

1. Partner-Up

Partner-up whenever possible... for the companionship that halves the troubles, doubles the joys, and improves the journey. (This is the opposite of isolating ourselves.)


Partnering-up is by far the best way to make enjoyable and satisfying progress. We are far happier and far more productive when we team-up with the right person, rather than travelling alone. So let's be thinking of the special souls with whom to share encouragement, compare notes, and confide in.

 

Our companion hasn't got to be a best friend, just someone we have a good feeling about. In any case, we will need to spread the load between two or more individuals, a different friend for each endeavour. Who could we team-up with for which activity? Who would we be well-suited to working with on which particular mission?

 

It takes guts to ask someone if they're interested, but it's a small price to pay for the likely benefits of hooking up. To hell with the taboos and embarrassment. Self-help is not the best way forward; partnering-up is.

 

2. Invest in Real Life

Invest in real life... so as to deepen our intimate relationships with the people, skills and places that mean the most to us. (It's quite the opposite of running from problems and resorting to the quick-fixes and superficial experiences which can compromise our most valued relationships.)

Let's not simply dream about all the good things we'd wish to do with our everyday lives, or watch them on the telly. Let's take a pad and paper and work out some step-by-step plans to how we're going to make things happen. There's no daydream that can beat the pleasure of living things for real.

And let's bear in mind that anyone trying to sell us 'instant happiness' is little more than a drugs-dealer. Happiness worth having is the warm glow that comes from investing ourselves in the world around us, come what may. It cannot be passively consumed, or gulped down like a sugary drink. Happiness must be created by our own ingenuity.


3. Enjoy the Journey

 

Enjoy the journey... because a good journey is a worthy goal in itself. (It's quite the opposite of spoiling the journey for the sake of the destination.)

 

We always fo a better job of things when we're enjoying ourselves, largely because good feelings lead to positive actions.

 

Take it slowly. Improving how our life feels isn't selfish, it's vital. It helps us get on so much better with the world around us. So let's not make it a rush or a race. There's no competition in life with anyone but ourselves: How well can we live it? Let's listen to our heartbeat, our positive, creative passions, and wonder what they might be telling us about how to proceed. I'm hoping you'll play to your signature strengths... your distinctive set of skills that bring you the most pleasure.


4. Learn to Thrive in the Face of Adversity

Learn to thrive in the face of adversity... by using our pains to drive our passions. (This is quite the opposite of trying to anaesthetise our painful feelings.)

How can we become ever more versatile and inventive, and learn to duck and weave? How can we occasionally step back and see the bigger picture of how we could be living in six months time?


5. Explore and Experiment

Explore and experiment with how we think and behave so as to find more satisfying ways to lead our life. (It's quite the opposite of being passive, rigid or blinkered.)

 

This [site] is not trying to be an A to Z of all we know about how life works, nor a 16-step guide to perfection. It's aiming to inspire action and provide some tools to get us started. Some of the ideas you'll have come across before, others not. We need to foster our spirit of exploration and find out what works for us in our particular situation at this time in our life.

 

We could try a new action for a couple of weeks, then review and revise it in the light of our road-test. We then put this revised version into practice for another two weeks, and carry on like this in pursuit of meaningful progress. In this, we need to be more than open-minded (that's too passive), we need to be adventure-minded. In exploring our true passions, it helps to be playful, questioning, versatile in our thinking, and quick to innovate.

 

6. Harmonise our Mind & Body, our Conscious & Sub-Conscious

 

By co-ordinating all of our internal resources like this, we greatly increase our power to progress. (This gentle, harmonioud approach is quite the opposite of us trying to bully our body and emotions.)

 

Having our mind and body work well together is vital to feeling at home inside of ourselves.

 

Bottom line is, if our mind is not happy, it will express this through our body, in the same way our body lets our mind know if it's in pain.

 

Our all-around well-being and progress in life will also benefit greatly from helping our conscious and sub-conscious goals and strategies work hand in hand. Once again, learning and developing the skill of self-hypnosis [neuro-associative conditioning; focusing upon desired end results in a state of positive expectation] is just one means by which to achieve such drives and heart-felt passions... channeling these productively rather than bottling them up.

 

7. Make Connections

 

Make connections... by seeing the bigger picture, and how every one thing is joined to every other. (It's quite the opposite of tunnel vision, or treating our life as a collection of barely related parts).

 

Let's appreciate the seamless canvas that underlies the bigger picture: the threads and pathways that connect one part of our life with another.

 

· Between how we treat ourselves and how other people treat us.

· Between how well we work and how well we recuperate.

· Between how we use our body and how our mind feels.

 

We can make connections between our present-day and our future three months hence, simply by conjuring vivid images in our mind's eye to show ourselves progressing. These images, if positive and achievable, help give our sub-conscious mind something to aim for.

 

How can we connect ideas so as to create a new possibility in how we approach things? What bridges can we build? Because the better we become at seeing the possible connections, then the more versatile we will be in our thinking, the stronger our problem-solving, and the more pleasure we'll find in everyday things.

 

When it comes to how we lead our lives, the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts [see: self-organizing systems and emergent properties]. All-around well-being requires us not only to appreciate the rich relationships interwoven in the world around us, but to create them.