Are you happy about how you feel? Satisfied with your overall level of wellbeing? Most of us want to take care of ourselves, but it’s hard in the midst of our busy, chaotic lives. Is there a secret to success?

Because our theme this quarter is wellbeing, we have been diving into the research to see what the proven methods are for people to be and feel their very best. To start, we took a look at the last couple years of data on wellbeing worldwide – and analyzed the data to see what skills are helping people feel their best. Remarkably, all over the world, it’s the same 3 EQ skills correlated with higher wellbeing. So if you want to feel better, I recommend focusing on these first.

Hopefully you can use these tips for unlocking your potential and feeling better than ever.

Unlocking Your Potential

Want to feel consistently better? Here is what the latest research says about wellbeing – and how to improve yours

What Is Wellbeing?

Before we dive in to what increases wellbeing, we should take a look at a question researchers have been wrestling with for decades: What exactly is wellbeing? Does wellbeing mean just being happy? Does it include health, or wealth? Or is it something bigger, broader, than each of those alone? Here’s a definition we like, broken down into three components:

Unlocking Your Potential: What Increases Wellbeing?

So if wellbeing is a combination of mental, physical and social wellness – then there must be multiple ways to increase it. And there are. Research has found that you can increase wellbeing by focusing on mindfulness, exercise, social connection, and nutritious food intake, among other things. But all of that is basically common sense. Everyone knows that if you exercise, meditate, eat well and spend a lot of time with people you love, you will feel great. It’s the part where you actually make all those things happen consistently where most people stumble – or feel stuck.

So what is it that helps people make these decisions that leads to higher wellbeing? It’s emotional intelligence.

EQ is what helps you focus, prioritize, and make the decisions that you really want to be making. And the data backs this up: Looking at years of data from the SEI, EQ is correlated with high wellbeing scores. And all over the world, it’s the same 3 EQ skills that are most highly correlated with wellbeing. Here they are, and read on for a breakdown of why each is essential for feeling your best.

This graph compares the scores on these 3 EQ skills of the top 25% and the bottom 25% in wellbeing scores. The top 25% are represented by the blue bars, and the bottom 25% by the red bars. As you can see, those who scored highest in wellbeing scored significantly higher in these 3 areas. What is the connection? Read on for more.

Optimism, motivation and noble goals. Let’s take a look at each of these, what they mean, and why they lead to higher wellbeing.


 Wellbeing Skill 1:

Optimism: Hone your ability to create new possibilities.

Exercising optimism means taking a proactive perspective of hope and possibility – realizing that you have choices and taking ownership of your reactions. The verb exercise is included on purpose – optimism takes work! It’s not something you are either born with or not, and that’s that. You can practice having an optimistic mindset – and doing so is an essential component of wellbeing.

The SEI, Six Seconds’ Emotional Intelligence Assessment, explores three dimensions of exercising optimism: duration, scope and power. They come down to 3 questions when facing a problem or challenge: How long will the problem last? How widespread is the problem? Is there anything I can do about the problem? Pessimists tend to think that the problem will last forever, impact everything, and that there is nothing they can do about it. Optimists, on the other hand, can see that the problem is not permanent or pervasive, and that there are at least some aspects that they can control. For an amazing breakdown of how a pessimist and an optimist would react after a car crash, check out the example in this article, Exercise Optimism.

Optimism helps you see more options for how to get what you want, and recover more quickly from setbacks. Sounds like a good recipe for feeling better, more consistently, right?


Wellbeing Skill 2:

Motivation: Be energized by what you value.

Engaging intrinsic motivation means being driven by personal values and commitments rather than by external forces. It means knowing what you really want out of life – and acting from that knowledge. It’s way more powerful than simply acting because of outside pressures. Think about this example that many of us have experienced:

If you are going to work out, go to yoga, or meditate because you should, your doctor told you to, or you get a work bonus for going – it probably won’t last very long or be very consistent. But if you are going to do those things because you know you feel calm after yoga, are less likely to be depressed when you work out, or because you want to live to see your grandkids, your chances of success skyrocket.

And that is why people who score high in intrinsic motivation also score high in wellbeing. They are the ones who get out there and do it. For more tips on how to engage intrinsic motivation, check out this article, How to Engage Intrinsic Motivation.

But now, let’s take a look at that part of the picture that is essential to tapping into your motivation – do you know, at the end of the day, what you really want?


Wellbeing Skill 3:

Noble Goals: Align your everyday steps with your bigger purpose. 

Pursuing noble goals means connecting your every day decisions with your overarching sense of purpose. Having a clear noble goal helps you focus on what is most important – a vital component of unlocking your potential. 

The first step is to think about and be able to articulate your noble goal. To do that, I highly recommend this article, How to Be a Great Leader: Harnessing the Power of Noble Goals. Whether or not you consider yourself a leader, the article offers some amazing tips for honing in on your noble goal – and examples of some of our team members’ noble goals.

Once you know your noble goal, it’s an amazing catalyst for making more intentional choices in your life. In any situation, whether it’s at the dinner table, in bed thinking about what you are going to do the next day, or at work, you can refer back to your noble goal as a guide. And this connection with making more intentional choices is why people who score high in noble goals – who know their purpose, and can articulate it and use it as a guide – also score high in wellbeing.

What Measures Wellbeing?

If you want to increase your wellbeing, a good place to start is by measuring it. That way you know where you are and what you may want to work on.

There are numerous wellbeing assessments. I like the SEI from Six Seconds because it not only gives you feedback on your life outcomes like relationships and wellbeing – as well as your EQ score – but it’s actionable. Just finding out your wellbeing score is one thing. “Okay, well, I guess I really should spend more time on my mental and physical health.” But with the SEI, you get a wellbeing score and scores on EQ skills related to wellbeing – like pursuing noble goals, exercising optimism, and engaging intrinsic motivation. That feedback gives you a practical action plan for improving your wellbeing.

Are you looking to make an investment in your wellbeing? The SEI is a rigorous, practical and actionable EQ assessment. It gives you feedback on your EQ skills as well as life outcomes like wellbeing, relationships, effectiveness, and quality of life. Best of all, it gives you a roadmap, a customized plan, for getting where you want to go.

Articles that you may like… 

To go deeper with these 3 competencies that increase wellbeing, click on the images below.

Michael Miller

Writer at Six Seconds
Michael Miller is a writer and contributor for Six Seconds who lives in Santa Cruz, California. He is passionate about living a balanced, healthy lifestyle and helping others to do the same. You can reach him at [email protected]

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