There are many factors that figure in to enhancing one’s overall quality of life, but If you have these Six areas covered it’s a good bet your life is pretty darn good, your attitude is contagiously positive and you are genuinely happy.
1. How Well You Eat
What you eat is a HUGE determining factor in your quality of life as this is the fuel that determines how efficient and successful you will be physically and mentally. Yes, I said mentally as your body is a system of chemical processes of which your mental state is influenced to a large degree and the foods you consume have a direct impact on those chemical processes.
How well you eat will also determine what your desired ideal body composition will be, how well your clothes fit and whether you have a love or hate relationship with your mirror after getting out of the shower. Eating whole, nutrient dense foods will go a long way toward realizing your desired body.
Don’t waste your time channeling your precious energies chasing quick fixes or too good to be true solutions that leave you eternally frustrated with no results that inevitably lead to constantly marching backwards to failure. We have all been on this self defeating march at some point in our lives. Instead, channel that energy toward what really works, be consistent and you will be a healthy winner.
Just be realistic and don’t compare yourself to the rare percentage of the population who are genetic freaks adorned on magazine covers or airbrushed Hollywood type fitness phonies with tales of crazy diets and wacky supplementation and other fantasy land solutions.
Eating a sound diet will also play a large part in keeping disease and ailments at bay which profoundly affects your quality of life.
While I am a big advocate of exercise and it is a key component to forging and maintaining your ideal body, your diet is the key driver to your success. So feed your body what it needs to succeed!
Need a primer for some ideas on what foods are beneficial and those to avoid like the plague? check out What Foods I Keep In My Kitchen for some ideas.
2. Who You Surround Yourself With
Without question, this will make or break your quality of life. Try to be eternally super vigilant with this life quality factor as it is extremely vital to any chance of cultivating a happy and quality existence for yourself. I am not shy about valuing, rewarding and celebrating those folks who add quality to my life and expelling to varying degrees those who do not.
If you choose to surround yourself with miserable, negative and morally bankrupt people who will gladly haunt you for eternity like it’s their job, your well-being and quality of life can’t help but spiral downward and suffer. I sadly see so many well-meaning and good hearted people fall prey to and enable these horrible people to invade and take root in their lives.
Everybody has these types in their lives to some degree who live to suck you into their negative drama, lies, time wasting and counterproductive nonsense, guilt trips, “oh woe is me” pity parties and various other situations based on hype and bullshit compounded by their uncanny knack for making poor life decisions over and over and over again. Know anybody in your life with this horrible resume of qualities? I bet you do.
Do a thorough mental checklist right now and identify these drains and pains in your life and challenge yourself to see how fast you can cut them out of your life or drastically limit your exposure to them. Usually there is no reforming these types so don’t take it upon yourself to try as this is usually a gesture in futility and eternal frustration. But if you enjoy being tortured, then by all means keep these devils around to haunt you for your finite time on this wonderful planet! It’s your choice. It’s your life quality.
There will always be some wretched people you will have to interact with on some level in life like in family or work situations or those “friends” in name only you keep around who really are not. If you absolutely must deal with these people(hopefully for just the short term) then you must be consciously on mental guard so as to not let them get to you. Easier said than done, but remember you are not helpless and still have a choice in these matters.
You ultimately control how you interact, react and deal with negative, toxic people you have to be around, so deal with them in a short, neutral manner and don’t waste energy agonizing over why they behave horribly, lecture or try to change them. That’s on them-not you!
But, the best action is to channel your productive energies into keeping these soul draining energy vampires out of your life entirely. You made that mental list of who these detractors are to your quality of life, right? Now deal with them accordingly-you deserve happiness and a quality existence!
How do I determine if someone is approaching my “no fly zone” list of people to avoid or limit my interaction with? I make note of many behaviors and actions in all my personal and professional interactions, but here are two of my own universal litmus tests.
Number One. Does the other person genuinely ask how you are doing and seem interested in your activities, experiences, well being, viewpoint, etc? Do they actually listen to your response if they actually do ask? Or does every conversation seem to be about them and all their contrived drama, turmoil and all the unproductive nonsense they seem to practice in life and wind up roping you into?
Number Two. When my phone rings/texts/messages and I see the contact ID come up, do I get a smile on my face with a good feeling and immediately answer or get back to that person ASAP or do I dread seeing the contact ID come up as a sour feeling floods over me knowing an interaction with this person is like taking a long march to the gallows full of stress, anxiety and pain. These gut reactions are rarely wrong and have served me well when I have had the sense to listen to these instincts which fortunately I have gotten better with!
While I have gotten pretty good at sniffing out disingenuous types with sour traits pretty quick, the above two tests have never failed to uncover toxic people in my life to avoid.
While I am by no means a moral saint and far from perfect, I work toward, practice and try to seek out certain positive traits and behaviors to keep myself and others I choose to surround myself with happy.
I try to surround myself with people who demonstrate the following positive behaviors and traits: Kind, Thoughtful, Respectful, Giving, Supportive, Open Minded, Collaborative, Morally Stable and Centered, Loyal, Honest, Decisive, Reasonable, Generous, Cheerful, Firm yet Fair, Funny, Informed, Even Keeled and behave with Integrity. Furthermore, I enjoy people who root for the success of others, are Self Aware, are Responsible yet don’t rigidly take themselves Too Serious, Don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves, embrace change and welcome challenges, have no Addictive Tendencies, are willing to take calculated risks and action, are unafraid to speak up, have the desire to try New Things and actively look for positive opportunity in any situation life deals you.
I have put some serious thought into the types of people I want around me in order to flourish and be happy in life. We only go around once in life and walk this planet for a short time – I urge you to put some serious thought into who you want in your life on this limited journey. The happiness and life quality clock is ticking…..
This isn’t a one-sided deal, however, as I will try hard to practice and demonstrate these same traits and behaviors I value from others to those who are in my life personally and professionally. But remember, you have to demonstrate value to attract value!
If you are able to surround yourself with people who even exhibit half of the above positive tendencies, you will be ahead of the game of life as your happiness and life satisfaction will have the tendency to skyrocket to new heights.
So don’t let your happiness and quality of life take a back seat in favor of a counterproductive desire to entertain all those soul draining pillars of misery that have attached themselves to you like energy leeches. It’s never too late to evaluate your relationships and make positive change.
3. Meaningful And Engaging Work, Career Or Activities
I see many people who are extremely unhappy with their work situation or career and let it carry over to the rest of their life. They hunker down, set the auto pilot to “misery” and never attempt to even take the slightest bit of action to improve their situation as life passes them by.
Even if you are retired, you still have to find meaningful activities or some type of work to fill your time if you want to have a degree of satisfaction in your life. I have yet to see the “satisfied” retiree who can golf 7 days a week and happily sustain that pace. I absolutely love to fish, but there is no way I could do it constantly as this activity will quickly get played out. That’s why various meaningful activities or work will create good balance and keep your quality of life fresh, engaging and robust.
It’s never too late to improve your skills, research other career directions and reach out to those with success in a chosen area you want to learn from. It can be as simple as reading a book, taking online courses or attending a seminar in your areas of interest or skill sets you want to master.
The point is, if you are miserable doing what you are currently doing, try making a change to improve your situation. Good things happen when you decide to take action, put yourself out there, collaborate with the necessary people/media resources and position yourself for progress and improvement.
Believe me, you will start to stand out and the right people will take notice as most people do NOTHING to improve their career or work situation except bitch, moan, play the victim and tell everyone their boss is a dick who refuses to recognize their scary talents.
Don’t follow the herd down this path of defeat and misery. “Own” your work or career limitations, improve where you need to and enjoy the satisfaction you will get when your new skills allow you to control and drive your career to new heights as new options will become available to you.
Don’t rely on others to “force” or “shame” you to improve. Start researching today a life topic or activity you want to explore and get skilled at and take the necessary action to start. It will be more meaningful and satisfying to “own” this process yourself as you pave your road to a quality life full of happiness and success.
4. Physical Movement Quality And Frequency
While you don’t need to be a super strong man or woman to lead a robust and capable quality of life, you should aspire to be strong enough to perform your daily activities, work tasks and leisurely pursuits without hurting yourself or needing three days to recover while popping advil like tic tacs to cope.
While having a requisite foundation of strength is important, your movement quality will have the greatest impact on your quality of life. Think about it. If you can’t move well and pain free, what kind of life are you living? I challenge you to take a “field trip” to your nearest supermarket or big box department store like a Wal Mart and really observe how people move. Most shuffle around with pained looks on their faces or even perpetual scowls.
Shopping carts are no longer used for carting stuff around, but as rolling crutches holding people up as they hunch over and lean on them because they are riddled with so many movement dysfunctions. Do you really think these folks are living a quality life? Don’t resign yourself to cruising into a life of poor movement that this country has somehow accepted as the new norm. It’s not!
I don’t care how strong you are, if you can’t move your body with full ranges of motion in pain free movements, I absolutely guarantee your quality of life will be less than ideal. I know some great folks that are super strong who are as stiff as the rusty Tin Woodsman from the Wizard of Oz and their movements are riddled with pain as they have neglected their mobility. So what good is that super strength if you cannot apply it to real life tasks that require full ranges of movement to perform competently?
I also know many on the opposite end of the strength spectrum who are sedentary and below average in strength who have the same movement problems, stiffness and pains as they neglect their mobility also. Neither of these scenarios is ideal for a good quality of life, but practicing meaningful mobility exercises and building a productive foundation of strength would undoubtedly benefit folks who find themselves in these situations.
Most folks will see wonderful results if they did some type of total body resistance training which includes joint mobility exercises 2-3 times per week and moving your body frequently during the week. I recommend doing some type of walking or hiking every day as your body is designed to move often in order to perform optimally.
I do reasonable, meaningful and sustainable training with kettlebells, sandbags and body weight exercises with daily mobility exercises and some walking/hiking as often as I can in order to stay fit and active. You don’t have to train for insane amounts of time or intensity throughout the week like some out there in the fitness industry would have you believe if you know how to program your training properly.
People have a hard time believing how little you actually need to train if you effectively program your workouts and avoid all the fitness hype promising value where none exists. Explore my site for some ideas as I built my rep and quality of life by practicing what I teach and preach.
Make sure you include these essential movements to get the most benefit from your training program.
Aging is not a representation of how many birthdays you have had, but is in reality a reflection of your movement quality. Most people who lead sedentary lives just resign themselves to the fact they will just lose their movement quality once they reach middle age and beyond. These people lose their movement quality not because they reach a certain age, but because they don’t practice and stay connected to meaningful exercise and moving around frequently.
I know people in their 60’s and 70’s that move way better than people in their 20’s and 30’s so it really is practicing moving around and exercising meaningfully and consistently no matter your age – within reason, of course. It’s really a move it or lose it proposition when it comes to achieving, maintaining and enjoying a life of active longevity for as long as you walk this great planet. It’s never too late to improve your movement quality which leads to improved life quality.
Don’t let anybody kid you – mobility, movement quality and meaningful, rational exercise are truly like sipping from the fountain of youth. So stop basking at the fountain of Coca Cola and give these ideas a shot.
5. The Desire To Continuously Learn
Some of the most miserable, difficult and “life victimized” people I have ever met or associated with are those who for some reason will impose a learning moratorium on themselves after a certain point in their lives. It’s like they pride themselves on and celebrate the fact that they have a mind that’s closed to new ideas, methodologies or experiences as life passes them by as they merely sit on the sidelines bitching as their quality of life suffers.
These are the types who will go out of their way to tell you with asinine glee how stubborn they are – deciding they are satisfied having a mind that’s too full for new ideas, skills or concepts. But are these types really satisfied? I don’t think so – at least not from what I see of the actions of most of these close minded folks and how they interact with others.
There’s an old saying – “If you’re not changing, you’re dying”
I will go one step further with this and add- “If you’re not learning, you’re dying”
I am a firm believer that if you shut down your desire to continuously learn, you do indeed whither and die a little bit each day as we as a species are designed to learn constantly both mentally and physically to varying degrees in order to flourish- keeping us happy as we strive to age gracefully powerful in mind, body and spirit.
Over the years in my business career, I have objectively observed, interviewed, evaluated and conducted performance reviews on many people in a variety of industries. I have found that the overwhelming majority of people who have demonstrated the initiative and desire to take it upon themselves to continuously improve upon and learn new skills are some of the most successful and satisfied people in life usually with contagiously delightful attitudes. These successful people also tend to have a high degree of curiosity and will respectfully seek out and learn from others skills they want to acquire and excel at. I have seen this successful quality transcend all ages and genders. It is truly a universal success and happiness indicator from what I have observed.
Every business I visit whether it be in a professional capacity throughout the work week and even as a customer in my spare time, it doesn’t take me long to sniff out the happiest, most productive employees as I will eagerly talk to everyone in my travels. Almost without exception, the people who are the most successful and happy seem to be actively involved in some type of skill improvement activity in their life whether through seeking out experts, taking a class, reading, attending workshops or volunteering for company sponsored training.
By contrast, it also doesn’t take me long to identify the most miserable, disengaged people in an organization. They almost never have any meaningful self improvement activities going on in their lives. Is this a scientific study? Nope. Just my observations walking this planet that I believe ring true.
Try to stay informed about the world about you. I always remember my 7th grade civics teacher repeating to us that “You don’t need to be an expert on every topic, but just stay informed.” Thank you, Mr. Curinga – I was listening all those years ago as this advice stands the test of time. I have found that those who practice staying informed on objective current events and learning about issues that legitimately affect them tend to be more stable, grounded in reality, interesting and even happier than their uninformed counterparts.
I shake my head at those people who bellow to others as if they are almost bragging that they pride themselves on knowing little or nothing of the world or community “goings on” around them.
But please, don’t go overboard and obsess over and get sucked into the ridiculous mood altering headlines, phony talking heads and hype of the often times irresponsible biased media outlets whereby you find yourself getting worked into a frenzy yelling at your tv, radio or mobile device in disgust over nonsensical topics and non-issues. While I have watched my fair share of folks do this and find it mildly entertaining, it’s just counterproductive to your well-being to get too caught up in media hype and nonsense.
6. Your Financial Soundness
Everyone needs a certain minimum standard or amount of money needed to not merely exist, but achieve a certain quality of life. But at what point does your happiness stop increasing along with your income level?
According to research studies by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, the national average for the amount of money people need to be happy per household is $75,000 per year. Keep in mind this is a national average and will vary depending on what state you live in, but this means on average that making more money beyond this does not improve your mood or overall happiness.
In essence, the study shows that after a certain point, additional money does not correspond to more happiness and a greater sense of well being. Don’t let this evidence hinder your drive and potential to be a big earner if your skills and talent warrant it, just realize that after that certain point your household needs are met your happiness won’t increase with the size of your wallet or purse.
Adding more debt and not living within your means will almost always detract from your quality of life, happiness and stability. Having unmanageable debt is understandably very stressful to most folks. Strive to not go overboard and be a slave to acquiring things. Don’t get sucked into the siren call of all that glitzy advertising urging you to spend more for things and services you really don’t need. Remember that advertising’s main goal is to convince you that you are not OK the way you are and that you need to spend your way to some “fantasy” standard created through emotional hype. Try to re-think your purchasing decisions and filter the majority of them through the lens of reality and practicality. Have fun with your money, but not to the point where your spending spirals your life downward – dodging bill collectors and being a frustrating burden to others who have to bail you out.
Money mismanagement and disagreements in spending and saving philosophies are frequently at the top of the list of why a lot of folks head to divorce court and contribute to sour attitudes, frustration, arguments, helplessness and strife in many marriages.
A disciplined saver who says “I do” to a chronic spender will have some rocky times in their marriage or relationship according to statistics. Have a frank discussion with your potential spouse about their debts and money management philosophy to make sure you’re comfortable with their financial habits and potential debt baggage. While “love may conquer all” is a great saying, the divorce court stats about money issues defeating well intentioned marriages are pretty sobering lessons.
Most successful, happy and satisfied people tend to adopt, practice and maintain an ideal balance of what they earn, what they spend, stuff they acquire, stuff they let go of and being realistic about their housing and vehicle costs and what they can comfortably afford and manage.
How Is Your Quality Of Life?
If you have trouble sleeping or are stressed out about any of these six areas, then your quality of life is probably not ideal and out of balance.
Challenge yourself to identify where any deficiencies or counterproductive habits may be denying you the quality of life you desire within these six areas. Own up to the behaviors that are sabotaging your quality of life and happiness and prepare for war. A war against your habits and behaviors that have been holding you back as well as a war to achieve that quality of life you know you want and deserve, but have somehow resisted taking positive action to win.
Try not to be overwhelmed in your valiant mission to achieve that life quality that you want. Isolate one area of concern at a time, focus and pour your energies into achieving a progressive solution, put that earned progress on autopilot and then attack your next area of concern right down the line.
Don’t go it alone when trying to improve your life quality. Follow and learn from the success of others who have achieved the skills and qualities you desire. Because in reality there really is no such thing as “self help” as making meaningful change in any life area requires that you learn from outside yourself with support since you only have access to those internal methods that have repeatedly failed you. Oh and remember that small, bite-sized changes practiced consistently add up to huge victories!
Stay Well! Take Action! Be Consistent! Train and Eat Smart! Get Rid of the Drains and Pains in Your Life! Value your loved ones and friends and get out and have some active, safe fun!
Mark Mellohusky (Mellow Husky) mellow as in laid back and husky like the dog
I Eat T-Bone Steaks, Lift Kettlebell Weights And Pursue A Quality Life!
“There’s a Sparkle in my Eyes and Iron in my Thighs!”
Seven Stars Fitness