The mood of the world has definitely darkened in the last year. Gallup, in their annual worldwide survey, found that roughly seven in 10 people are struggling or suffering in their lives. This conclusion is based on the response to what is called the Gallup Net Thriving Assessment (GNT). The assessment, given to over a million people in 160 countries, measures how people perceive their lives in the moment and in five years’ time. According to this year’s assessment, the US mood is as low as it was during the great recession of 2008.
The assessment asks:
Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you.
Q2: On which step do you think you will stand about five years from now?
Based on the responses, individuals rank as thriving, struggling, or suffering. Here is what each of the rankings looks like:
Thriving – rate their current lives as a seven or higher. Have positive views for the future with ratings of eight or greater. They report fewer health problems and less worry, sadness, depression, or anger. They report more hope, happiness, energy, interest, and respect.
Struggling – rate their current lives as a five or six on the 10-point scale. They report daily stress and worry about money more than those who are thriving.
Suffering – rate their lives as currently miserable, with a four or below in both the present and future states. They are more likely to report lacking the basics of food and shelter, experiencing more physical pain, stress, worry, sadness, and anger. They have less access to health insurance and care. Their disease burden is twice that of thriving individuals.
Ask yourself on which rung are you currently standing? On which rung do you see yourself in five years?
This type of life evaluation is called a self-anchoring scale because each of us have different criteria for defining the best possible life. The aspects that you can actually do something about are found in the five elements of wellbeing:
- Career wellbeing – you like what you do every day.
- Social wellbeing – you have meaningful friendships in your life.
- Financial wellbeing – you manage your money well.
- Physical wellbeing – you have energy to get things done.
- Community wellbeing – you like where you live.
The magic of these five elements is their interdependence. Increasing wellbeing in one area will automatically have an additive effect on performance and health.
Which element is the most important? Most people would answer physical wellbeing. And certainly, without it everything else is kind of moot. Yet Gallup maintains it is career. It is where we spend the most of our time, it’s our source of income, friends, and community. When we are thriving in our career, it really doesn’t matter what day it is. We aren’t just living for the weekends. We automatically take good care of ourselves because every day is energizing.
“You can achieve net thriving without taking extreme measures or fundamentally changing who you are.”
- You don’t need to be an athlete to be healthy. Just move a moderate amount each day.
- You don’t need to be vegan to eat a nutritious diet. Just eat a fruit or vegetable at each meal.
- You don’t need to be a gazillionaire to feel financially secure. Just live within your means.
- You don’t need to make a dozen new friends to improve your social life. Just ditch the relationships that drain you and cherish the ones that energize you.
- You don’t need to run the world. Just find some part of your job that you enjoy and find ways to do more of it.
- You don’t have to fix your weaknesses. Just build on your strengths. Let’s start with strengths. What are yours? If you don’t know, I can help you with that.
Patricia M. Fuller has dedicated the last 20+ years to designing and delivering wellness programs. Her events earn consistently excellent ratings for her holistic approach and her real world application.
Prior to concentrating in wellness, Pat taught accounting and auditing as an adjunct professor at the University of Tampa. She earned her CPA designation in 1992 as a senior associate for Coopers & Lybrand. She has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Utah.
Pat has a PhD in holistic nutrition. In 2010, she was board certified by the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board. Her areas of research include stress management and eating habits. She is a Certified Wellcoach and a member of the Institute of Coaching. She is an annual attendee to The Harvard Medical School Conference, Coaching In Leadership & Healthcare.
Have a Question? Email it to Dr. Pat: firstname.lastname@example.org