When it comes to assessing your quality of life, so much goes into consideration that not even researchers can agree on the true meaning. The truth is, quality of life has so many perspectives and factors that impact it, that choosing one way to analyze it seems almost impossible. For now, let’s use the World Health Organization mechanism to measure the quality of life across nations, an old tool known as WHOQOL-BREF.
Measure Your Physical Health
Start with the basics. Measuring your physical health is easier than most people believe. Considering things such as how mobile you are, or what kinds of activities do you do daily are an excellent starting point. However, physical health involves much more than staying active. Ask yourself these questions to analyze the state of your physical health:
- Is your diet healthy?
- Do you have vitamin deficiencies?
- Are you checking your gut’s health?
- Do you know how stress affects your body?
- Are you drinking enough water?
- Do you exercise at least three times a week?
Answering these questions will help you have a better idea of the state of your physical health. Beyond these questions, ask yourself about any diseases or conditions that might impact your quality of life. Many QOL questionnaires are specific for people struggling with an illness that changes the way they function in society.
Remember, this is just a fraction of the equation. At times, your physical health will take priority over the other sections of your quality of life, and that’s okay.
Measure Your Mental Health
Many of us overlook the importance of mental health in our quality of life. Even large organizations don’t consider it a priority when looking at the quality of life in under-developed countries. When, in fact, mental health should be at the top of the list. Considering things like anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses when looking at the quality of life can help us understand the full circle as our mental health drips down to every aspect of our lives. Ask yourself questions like:
- Am I aware of my negative thinking?
- Is my self-image healthy?
- How do I rank on a self-esteem scale?
- Do I have healthy boundaries?
- Can I seek mental health help if I need to?
- Do I understand the importance of mental health?
These answers will give you a better idea of how much value you place on your mental health. Don’t feel discouraged if you realize you don’t value it. Society has taught us to focus on tangible things like our bodies or the food on our plates. The mental health conversation is just expanding, and wherever you are, you should know that it’s okay. What matters going forward is that you choose to prioritize every slice of the quality of life pie.
Consider Your Social Environment
It might seem strange to consider others when asking about your quality of life. But, social relationships, social support, and personal connections are critical elements in the quality of life. Whether you acknowledge it or not, our social environment dictates many aspects of our life. From who we are as individuals, to how we respond to stimuli and various situations. These questions might help you understand how your social environment is affecting you:
- Am I a toxic person?
- Can my relationship be toxic?
- How do you choose your friends?
- Do I practice social self-care?
- How does social media affect my self-image?
- Has social conditioning changed my identity?
It can be challenging at first to answer these questions with honesty. However, try to analyze these with a clear mind and don’t hold any judgment back. Be honest with yourself, even if the answers hurt right now. Focusing on transparency will help you realize what needs to change to improve your quality of life.
Think about Your Environmental Health
Last but not least is our environment. With things like global warming, plastic pollution, and more, it can be easy to start feeling anxious about our future self. Many health organizations around the world measure environmental health as a critical component of quality of life. After all, when our waters are polluted, when the air we breathe is toxic, and when there’s land waste in our towns, it affects every aspect of our health. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I suffering from eco-anxiety?
- Is air pollution affecting my health?
- Am I a good friend to the environment?
- Is my environment judgment-free?
- Am I contributing to an unhealthy environment?
- Do I bring issues that matter to my environment?
Looking at your environment from various lenses can help you assess what needs to change. While we can’t control global warming, we can control our actions and how they affect the environment.
A Note from GR8NESS
One can look at the quality of life from many lenses. Your perception of what a good quality of life means will change over time and adapt as you progress through the different stages of life. The quality of life of a parent is entirely different from the quality of life of a child. Remember this, and make sure to re-check your definition of quality of life as you move through life.