Despite the challenges we faced, the pandemic gave us time to reflect and helped shift our perspective. We found ourselves asking: Are we happy and healthy? Are we living our life to the fullest?
What are the indicators of a “complete” and fulfilled life? Here are what experts and studies have to say.
You have close, meaningful relationships.
An 80-year Harvard University study revealed that the secret to healthy aging is to have meaningful, healthy relationships. It doesn't just refer to romantic relationships. Bonds with family, connections with colleagues, participation in your community also count.
While this advice sounds basic, it’s based on empirical data gathered by Harvard for nearly 80 years as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development.
Taking care of your body is a well-known way to pamper yourself. However, according to the study, tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. Based on the 268 Harvard alumni and their children that researchers surveyed, findings showed that money or prestige did not make the subjects happy throughout their lives. It was the quality of the relationships and the company they keep.
These ties protect people when they encounter challenges in life. As they say, no man is an island. We all need those non-negotiable people to help us through thick and thin!
You have a sense of purpose.
If you are content in your relationships, then you might wonder if anything else is missing in your life. Well, according to research published in JAMA Network Open, you should also feel a sense of purpose.
The study, which followed almost 7,000 people, indicated that a stronger purpose in life was associated with decreased mortality.
But what is your purpose, exactly? Well, the Japanese have a technique called the Ikigai to find out. The first step is to list down what you love, then, enumerate what you're good at or your skills. Next, jot down what the world needs. Finally, list down what you can be paid for. The intersection of all of these is your Ikigai or purpose.
You pursue your passions.
When you work nonstop and attend to the needs of your family and friends, you can get burned out. Having a hobby and pursuing personal passions is a must to sustain your motivations.
A 2015 study published in The Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that pursuing your passion lowers stress and contributes to greater happiness. Researchers found that participants were 34% less stressed and 18% less sad while doing their hobbies. That feeling also extended long after they've completed their pastimes.
Some people may be too busy to set aside time to do non-work activities (or some may even say work is their passion), but it always helps to have a varied set of hobbies that can allow you to unwind and disconnect for a while. It may sound cliche, but a good work-life balance is essential.
You give back to the community.
When you help people, do you feel lighter? Giving back in any form is supposed to be beneficial to your health as well. It is also one of the steps to living a more complete, meaningful life.
Doing activities such as volunteering decreases the risk of depression, teaches us valuable skills, and helps people stay physically and mentally active.
It also reduces stress levels and helps you live longer. Another research called the "Longitudinal Study of Aging" found that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates.
By giving back to the community, you also widen your network. You meet others and develop new relationships.
Your mind is at peace.
Many people are afraid to step out of their comfort zone because it entails risks. What if, on the road to fulfilling your dreams, you trip financially—or worse, you get sick. These fears keep us from taking that leap of faith.
But what if you have a safety net that can protect you as you make that jump? A back-up plan. You can take calculated risks by installing safety shields that will help you pursue your goals and enjoy new hobbies and interests while keeping your mind at peace. After all, you can only truly enjoy your passion and connect meaningfully with others when your entire wellbeing is in check.
You are healthy.
You are in tip-top shape, not just in terms of your physical health, but also in the social, mental and emotional, and financial aspects of your life. You live a balanced life that makes you happy and vibrant.
Don’t let illness foil your plans, your passions, and your happiness. Get complete health protection from FWD Life Insurance’s Vibrant Critical Illness Plan—a complete health insurance that combines wellness, screening, treatment, and recovery in one package. This comprehensive plan helps take the guesswork out of your health by helping to cover medical and lab tests every two years for the first decade of your plan, ensuring that you’re cared for and can be in tip-top shape.
On top of the Health Screening Benefit that helps you monitor your health and wellbeing, FWD Vibrant gives you more protection and peace of mind up to 6x claims for major critical illness and up to a maximum of Php 1,000,000 coverage for minor critical illness. And upon your first critical illness diagnosis, you’ll get further support with the Health Supplement Benefit that gives you 2% of your benefit amount every month for six months to help you with your recovery. That’s one less thing to worry about in case you fall ill.
Ready to take the next step towards a happy, healthy, and vibrant life? Sign up here to talk to our financial advisors for free financial advice.