Pursuing the Excellent Life
May 17, 2023

Seven Pillars of Well-Being (Five-Minute Flourishing)

Join Craig as he delves into the fundamental components that contribute to your well-being. In the episode, he introduces the concept of the seven pillars of well-being and offers insights into each one. Be sure to check out the back catalog of Live Well and Flourish at https://www.livewellandflourish.com/ for episodes related to many of the pillars.

Seven Pillars of Well Being

  • Positive emotions, 
  • Engagement, 
  • Relationships, 
  • Purpose and meaning, 
  • Accomplishment and achievement, 
  • Physical well-being, and 
  • Resilience and coping

Live Well and Flourish website: https://www.livewellandflourish.com/

The theme music for Live Well and Flourish was written by Hazel Crossler, hazel.crossler@gmail.com.

Production assistant - Paul Robert


Craig 00:01 

Welcome to Live Well & Flourish. I'm your host, Craig Van Slyke.

Well-being and flourishing are inextricably linked. Although flourishing and well-being are often used interchangeably, they’re really not the same. Without getting into the weeds, at a high level well-being is a prerequisite for flourishing, so understanding what makes up your well-being is an important aspect of flourishing. So, what determines your well-being? That’s what we’ll talk about today.

There are a bunch of views regarding what makes up well-being. What I’ll talk about today is a sort of mash-up of several of these. My view is that there are seven important factors that contribute to your overall sense of well-being. In no particular order they are positive emotions, engagement, relationships, purpose and meaning, accomplishment and achievement, physical well-being, and resilience and coping. Let’s talk about each one. 

Craig 00:57 

Positive emotions are the foundation of your well-being. Cultivating and appreciating positive emotions like joy, gratitude, happiness and contentment significantly impacts your satisfaction with life. Keep in mind that to appreciate positive emotions, you need to be aware of them as they occur. So, take the time to savor the good times, whether they’re small or large.

Engagement means being fully absorbed in activities that are challenging and enjoyable. This can give you an experience of flow, which makes time seem to sort of fly because you're fully engrossed in what you’re doing. Think about activities that truly captivate you, hobbies, projects at work, sports, playing music, hiking, writing … there are endless examples of things that bring about a sense of flow. Find one or two such activities that fully engage you and you’ll improve your well-being. Remember, it’s not about being great at something, or even good, it’s whether you truly enjoy the activity.

Craig 01:58 

Building and nurturing healthy, positive relationships contributes to a sense of belonging, support and fulfillment, all of which are critical to well-being. Note the “healthy, positive” bit. Enhancing your well-being means having the sort of relationships that make you feel better, not worse. So, you not only need to build healthy relationships, you may need to walk away from unhealthy relationships. Sometimes it’s a hard truth to accept, but some relationships are simply bad for you. Remember that good relationships are reciprocal, you make them stronger by not always giving and not always taking.

Meaning and purpose give your life direction and fulfillment. As I’ve said lots of times before, your purpose should be the driving force behind your life. Think about what brings a sense of meaning to your life, what’s really important and what impact you want to make on the world. For more about finding your purpose, check out my episode on Living a Life of Purpose by going to livewellandflourish.com/23.

 Craig 03:02 

Developing an ongoing sense of accomplishment and achievement is also important to your well-being in part by contributing to your self-esteem and personal growth. This is especially true when things are connected to your purpose. Identify goals that resonate with you, big and small. Be sure to make these behavioral goals that are under your control. Break big goals down into smaller goals and recognize each achievement along the way. My Small Wins episode might be useful as you try to do this. (Just go to livewellandflourish.com/29.) Remember, it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the personal journey of self-improvement, growth, and fulfillment, so be sure to enjoy the journey along the way and to recognize even small accomplishments.

Your physical well-being is also important. Prioritizing your physical health gives you more energy to pursue your purpose and makes you more resilient to life’s challenges. It's hard to be resilient when you're just not feeling well. You know what to do, exercise, watch what you eat, moderate your drinking, it's all stuff you know. Trust me, paying attention to your physical health provides a strong foundation for overall well-being.

Craig 04:16 

As we all well know, life can be challenging sometimes. Resilience and coping abilities help you bounce back from adversity and maintain a positive mindset. I just talked about resilience in the last episode, so I won’t go into detail here. Coping and resilience go hand-in-hand. Knowing and using strategies to manage challenging situations or stressors is important to maintaining your well being.

 By the way, I'm planning on doing an episode on coping in the near future, so be on the lookout for that. 

Well, that’s the list. I want to encourage you to do two things. First, spend a little time each day in the coming week to do a self-assessment of where you stand on each pillar. Then pick one to focus on over the next month. Over time, doing this will boost your well-being for years to come. Second, I encourage you to go to livewellandflourish.com to browse the back catalog. Over the last couple of years, I’ve covered a lot of topics related to the pillars, so you may find some useful nuggets in past episodes.

That’s it for this week. Be well my friends.