Why Well-Being is a Better Goal than Balance | Author: Beth Cabrera, PhD

The Gift of Well-Being vs. Balance

Are you searching for balance? If so, you’re not alone. Trying to balance professional, family, and personal roles is a constant struggle for everyone. Workplaces are more demanding than ever, with little flexibility, limited support, and an expectation of 24/7 helps you think in more creative ways, so you can come up with solutions to better manage the chaos. People with high well-being are also more resilient.

How to increase well-being

So what contributes to your well-being? There are two main factors: feeling good and doing good. Feeling good is about experiencing positive emotions on a daily basis; doing good is about overall life satisfaction that comes from pursuing meaningful goals and making a positive impact. People who are high on the feeling-good and doing-good dimensions of well-being are thriving.

And now for the really good news: unlike balance, well-being is an achievable goal. Recent research in neuroscience shows that intentionally choosing thoughts and behaviors associated with well-being strengthens those neural circuits in your brain. Doing this over time changes your default mode to one of higher well-being. Well-being is a skill you can learn and get better at, just like playing the piano.

Practices associated with well-being include mindfulness, gratitude, hope, living your values, developing your strengths, and making a positive impact. My book, Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being, provides specific strategies for increasing both the feeling-good and doing-good dimensions of well-being.

So forget about balance and focus on boosting your well-being instead. Having a life full of joy and meaning will enable you to successfully deal with those out-of-balance days when not everything goes according to plan.

"Beth Cabrera. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University"

“Beth Cabrera. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University”


Beth Cabrera, PhD, is the author of Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being (ATD Press) and a senior scholar at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. As a writer, researcher, and speaker, she helps individuals achieve greater success and well-being. Her leadership development programs focus on strengths, purpose, mindfulness, and workplace well-being. Blog: cabrerainsights.com Twitter: @bethcabrera

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