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Despite having nearly every convenience right at our fingertips, many people feel like their quality of life isn’t what they’d like it to be. From burnout to chronic mental and physical health conditions, there are a lot of factors that impact your quality of life.
As Americans living in a fast-paced, connected, and modern world, it’s important that we recognize the factors that make up our quality of life. From traveling with loved ones to taking time for relaxation and self-care, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your emotional, mental and physical well-being.
In order to do so, however, you have to recognize that things might not be what you’d like them to be at the current moment.
What is Quality of Life?
Quality of life is a subjective measure of how happy you are, and it’s a key part of many financial decisions. Some of the many varied factors playing a role include financial security, job satisfaction, health, safety, and family life.
Financial decisions might involve the need to make a trade where the quality of your life is reduced to save or earn more money. On the other hand, quality of life can go up when someone spends more money.
If we use the term as it relates specifically to our work, it refers to the ability and time available to you to do things you enjoy. If you have a job where you make a lot of money, but you’re always working, then you can’t enjoy the money you earn. That represents poor quality of life.
If you have a job where you have time to enjoy life, but you’re always feeling tired or stressed out, then again, it’s something that’s detrimental to your quality of life.
Sometimes, we hear quality of life referred to when it comes to budgeting and saving money. You might, for example, accept a lower quality of life now to have one that’s better in the future.
Some of the specific factors that could be used to assess your lifestyle include:
- How far you live from your work. Commuting can help you save money because you might buy a home somewhere less expensive and then travel farther for work. Commuters’ trade-off is that they have less time to spend doing things they enjoy or with their families because they’re in traffic or on mass transit.
- Some jobs might pay well but expose you to hazards, like injuries or exposure to chemicals.
- The hours of work that you spend at work versus the free time you have available to you are big ones when looking at lifestyle quality.
- The strength and presence of interpersonal relationships with friends and family determines your quality of life.
- Your health is part of this as well. Some things related to your health may be out of your control, but others, like the foods you eat and whether you exercise, aren’t and can have a big impact.
How Can You Improve Your Quality of Life?
What a well-lived life looks like is deeply personal. For example, some people define it by having a marriage and children. For others, it’s about financial success and freedom. Other people might feel their quality of life is determined by their ability to travel and spend their free time in ways that are meaningful and interesting to them. If you don’t feel your life is what it should be – If you feel like there are certain aspects of your life where you’re stuck, or things that you shouldn’t have to deal with — Then coaching with someone who is experienced in NLP can help.
Regardless of how you define it, general steps and strategies you can use to improve your own QoL include:
Cultivate a Sense of Optimism
We often look at external things as being primary drivers of how happy we are or how we view our lives and success. In reality, a lot of how you feel about your life, in general, is based on your perspective.
You can practice cultivating optimism, and that will then improve how you feel about your job, yourself, and your sense of self-esteem. Talk to yourself in positive, optimistic ways, and begin to work on having positive expectations.
Often, when you go into things with the expectation they’ll be positive, it becomes self-fulfilling, but the opposite can also happen with negative self-talk.
There are certain habits that are evidence-backed ways to improve your level of happiness. As you might assume, the happier you are, the better your quality of life.
One habit is to practice gratitude every day. Sit down each day, whether in the morning or evening, and write down a few things you are grateful for.
Even if you’ve had a day where you feel like you aren’t grateful for anything, try to find at least one thing you can put on your list.
There is always something to find gratitude for, you may just have to take the time to look for it.
We tend to dwell on negative parts of our life, but through the practice of gratitude, you’re instead putting your attention on the positive aspects.
Meditation improves happiness, lowers blood pressure, and can even reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. There was a study published in JAMA’s Internal Medicine journal that stated mindfulness meditation has the ability to help with psychological stress and physical pain.
Sit quietly for 15 minutes to build a habit of mindful meditation.
During this time, you don’t think about the future or the past. You’re not swelling. You’re in the moment and in the stillness.
Learn New Things
If you can commit to learning something new every day, you’re more likely to be a happier person with a better QoL.
You can learn new things however you prefer. Some people learn through travel and experiences. Other people read, or you might take online courses. Do a little everyday if you can.
Take 10,000 Steps a Day
Your physical health is an enormous part of how you feel about yourself and the world. Set a goal for yourself to move more even in simple ways.
One good way to do that and measure your success is to use a step tracker and get in 10,000 steps a day.
You might not be able to work out everyday, but nearly everyone can take 10,000 steps a day at their own pace.
Studies show that doing so can help weight loss, reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and it’s also going to make you feel accomplished.
Drink More Water
Our bodies are made up of around 60% water when we’re adults. Our brain and heart are 73% water. Our lungs are 83% water. We don’t get enough water in many cases, though, so try to set a goal to drink more water.
A good metric is 64 ounces a day.
Rethink Time Management
When people are effective at time management, they tend to have better energy levels, be more productive, and have a better outlook.
Time management means that you work on prioritizing everything you need to get done. You focus on urgent tasks first, and then you also make sure you’re keeping long-term goals in mind.
People have different ways of implementing better time management, but overall, the goal is to eliminate those bad habits like procrastination that get in the way of achieving what you need each day.
Be Financially Smart
We talked above about the big role finances can play in your quality of life. You don’t have to be rich to have a good quality of life, but you do need to be smart and strategic about your money.
Set and review financial goals on a regular basis.
Aim to save at least 20% of your income. Make sure that you automate this.
Be mindful of the money you have coming in versus going out and have a way to see quickly where your money goes every month so you can make changes if you need to.
Make Sure Your Leisure Time is Well-Spent
Your leisure time and how you spend it is integral to how you feel about your quality of life.
There are so many ways you can improve your free time. Rather than spending it all on the sofa binging Netflix, think about things that will make you feel like it’s well-spent.
For example, socialize more, or do one thing every week that you’re afraid of. Do something you’ve been putting off.
Make sure that you’re leaving at least a little bit of your monthly budget to put toward leisure activities or things you enjoy, like eating out or traveling. Yes, you want to save money and make good financial decisions, but you need to make room in your budget for the things that bring you joy or feel like a splurge.
Finally, don’t forget about the importance of self-care. Caring for yourself is an investment in your health, your productivity, your career, and your family. No matter what self-care looks like to you, to improve your quality of life, it needs to be something you set aside time for on a consistent basis.
Self-care could be simple, like taking a bath or giving yourself a facial. It doesn’t have to be elaborate to count.