To determine your degree of life satisfaction, answer True or False to the following.
- I enjoy getting out of bed most mornings, as I look forward to starting the day.
- I see the problems in my life as challenges which I can learn from.
- I am usually able to focus on what I am doing and feel energetic.
- I experience a high level of satisfaction in my work.
- I have a sense of meaning and purpose in my life.
- I do not dwell on my past or future but am able to live fully in the present.
- I experience a sense of belonging with others – whether it’s with my family, in my community, at work or in certain groups.
- I am rarely bored.
- I am proud of my accomplishments in life so far.
- I am able to accept constructive criticism on my performance.
- I have sufficient income for my needs.
- I take proper care of my body with a balance of good eating habits, regular exercise and enough sleep.
- There is at least one person in my life with whom I can share my fears as well as my joys.
- I feel loved most of the time.
- I actively care for others in my life – whether family, friends, strangers or pets.
- I feel comfortable in my own skin and for the most part am content to be who I am.
- Though I always strive to improve, I recognize my own limitations and do not push myself in ways that are detrimental to my well-being.
- I am able to graciously receive gifts or compliments and feel deserving of a rewarding life.
- I feel that I am making a difference in other people’s lives – whether at home, at work or in the community.
- I can find at least five things to be grateful for in my current life.
Give yourself 1 point for each “True” response and add your points.
0 - 5 - Dissatisfied with my present life
6 - 10 - Low satisfaction
11-15 - Satisfied
16-20 - Very satisfied
A few points to consider in order to increase your level of satisfaction:
- Get balance in your life
Addictions of any kind rob you of your ability to FEEL. Common addictions are substance abuse (drugs, alcohol), overeating or watching 5 hours or more of TV every day. You need to address the emotional issues that underlie these destructive habits and find healthy alternatives to satisfy your needs.
- Strengthen your connections to nature and other people
Regularly getting out in nature gives us a greater connection to the outer world and a feeling of well-being. If you live in the city, make an effort to walk through a near-by park or other green space as often as you can.
Similarly you need on-going, positive relationships with others to avoid feeling isolated. Whenever you reach out to help someone else, you expand your ability to give and receive love. If you lack social ties in your life, join or form an interest group or offer your services as a volunteer. You will definitely feel happier!
- Seize the moment
Often we feel too rushed – between commuting, working and carrying out our responsibilities at home – to enjoy the joys of living. Make a point of stopping to appreciate a colorful sunset or the multitude of stars on a clear night. It’s also important to experience pleasure on a regular basis, whether it’s reading a chapter of a good book, making love or soaking in a fragrant bath.
- Give yourself credit
Many of us tend to downplay our own accomplishments. We begin to go after our next goal without giving ourselves credit for what we’ve just done.
Whenever you complete a task or project, take time to absorb the satisfaction of doing it. Reward yourself in a tangible way (e.g. rent a movie after clearing out the garage).
Another way to build your sense of satisfaction is to keep a “victory log” where you record your accomplishments, especially the things you found difficult or challenging.
- Re-visit your Life Values
Reviewing your Life Values and how you want to achieve them can greatly increase your level of life satisfaction.
For example, Rhonda, 39-year-old single woman, felt she was missing out because all her friends were married. Then she did her Life Values exercise and saw that independence (autonomy) was number one on her list. She realized the benefits and freedom of her current lifestyle and why she had chosen to remain single. That understanding brought her new satisfaction.
For my Life Values exercise and coaching program, email Thelma@u-unlimited.ca.
- Follow your Own Path
It’s easy to fall into the trap of following other people’s expectations, whether family or peers. You need to clearly see who you are and what makes you feel most alive. Until you embark on the path that is right for YOU, you will feel restless or discontented.
Thelma Mariano left the corporate workforce to follow her passions as life coach and writer. As a life coach, she helps people to align their life values with their interests and skills and to connect with their inner guidance. Her personal growth column, Take a Moment, can be found on her website. For more information, visit www.u-unlimited.ca.