So, this is the penultimate blog post explaining the individual concepts behind the acronym AHRLEE. These are the six elements I think are important to sound well-being. Today, we take a look at our 'Environment'.
Again, looking a lot more deeply than just the ‘natural environment’, we can very quickly see how influential our surroundings are to our well-being. From a natural perspective, the Perth Hills for example is really an amazing sensory palette of sight and sound. The vast, lush green landscapes and abundant variety of flora and fauna are the perfect recipe for all things tranquil and appreciating of nature.
Our much-loved coastline and beaches on the other hand evoke a totally different experience. What we encounter here is bright gold and blue colours, summer and sporting pursuits, holidays and parties. With just two examples of what our experience may be like in two different natural environments, it is time to break this down into some of the micro-environments that we experience every day.
Firstly, where we live is probably the most influential due to it being the place we more than likely spend most of our time in a leisurely way, so-to-speak, What we see around us here will impact many things such as our motivation, mood, sleep, social interactions and many more. Finding a place to live that aligns with us perfectly can obviously have its difficulties when finances, occupation and other factors become involved. I think for many of us, to live in our perfect environment is something we naturally aspire to achieve.
Secondly, our working environment will influence the exact same things (motivation, mood, sleep, social interactions etc.) but also has the added variable of being a place where we essentially need to be. I say ‘a place’ because we do not necessarily need to be at one particular place. The reason many people leave their jobs is due to a bad working environment whilst a good working environment is usually one of the key reasons people will stay at a job, even if they don’t like the work they are doing. But changing this environment also isn’t easy as factors such as disruption of finances, location and the risk of the new environment being worse are all at play.
So how can we change our environment for the benefit of well-being?
I’m not sure there is a one-size-fits-all answer but again, we’ll have a look at a couple of options.
Changing elements of our environment.
If we feel we cannot physically up-and-change at the present time, this may be the next best option until we can. This could be simply rearranging or decluttering a workspace or doing the same in our house. Obviously this cannot be done in some workplaces or living spaces, but take a look around anyway and see what can be changed, even if it does not seem like much. Like creativity, it can spark further ideas or allow us to see something differently. This in turn, is positive and proactive in bringing about movement towards a life we would prefer.
Physically moving towards an environment we want to be in.
Going all-the-way, just doing it? Now, there is clearly a lot to consider when doing this but when we break a goal like this down into smaller pieces, again we may see other options open up that are more viable, yet just as valuable…. And we make decisions in this way very frequently.
Let’s say we decided to get off the couch and hit the town tonight, what would we do? Get dressed, get an Uber and off we go?
Well, yes and no.
We also have to decide when we want to get there, when we need to leave by and what to wear. Now once we hit this one, we need to decide how to dress for the weather conditions, the context (formal/casual) and if we don’t have available clothing options we want, we have to decide the next-best option. Now it gets even more complicated when deciding what we must remember to bring with us, the utilities we need to turn-off before leaving, have you fed the cat?? The list goes on. So we make extremely complex decisions with many considerations for changes of environment almost every day.
Now granted, there is a lot less riding on these little changes, we have done them many times so are used to the variables and these changes are generally not permanent. But in breaking down and planning a large change, the goal can seem less daunting as each step can be considered and worked on accordingly. This can lead to us to being more prepared for the change and also highlight some exit points that we did not see before but may suit us better.
A good environment is a major part of good well-being and in acknowledging that the suggestions above are not perfect for every situation we face, it aims to facilitate some thought into how we can adapt or adapt to our environment for our benefit.