Learn about the most important things in life and why they are essential in order to be happy and create a greater sense of fulfilment.
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In today’s digital world, many of us are thrown by social status, materialistic items and luxuries – and how can you blame us? We are constantly being shown that the image of perfection includes these things, with edited Instagram images and reality TV shows highlighting the elite.
In reality, however, status, designer products and expensive items are worth nothing; they won’t make your happy nor healthy. So, regardless of where you are in the world, the most important things on your list should include the following.
Being healthy is the single, most important part of our existence – without good health, our lives can be cut short. That said, it’s important not to take good health for granted and feed our bodies nutrients that they deserve by eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can ‘reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.’
While you may sometimes argue and get annoyed with your family, they are your unit and the ones that you can turn to in times of happiness and sorrow. No matter what you go through with your family, they will always be there to guide and support you and to help you learn and grow as a person.
The love from a family member is unconditional and should not be taken for granted. Some people go through life without truly appreciating just how important having their family’s support is and spend the majority their existence feeling unhappy. So, if you don’t usually show your family how much they mean to you, now is the time to start!
Just like family, friends are a vital part of our existence and happiness. They are people that can share the best parts of your life with you and will be there as a confidant when you need to talk about personal issues.
While real friends are hard to come by, most will have a handful of trusted friends that they can rely on. And even though you may outgrow certain friends during different stages of your life, you will have opportunities to form new relationships with people that you come across.
See also: Proven Ways to Make Friends at Work
Love is the epicentre of every aspect of your life – it doesn’t just relate to having a partner. You will love your partner in a unique way, but you will also have unchangeable affection for your family and friends.
Love is also the feeling that will drive you throughout your career, extracurricular activities, interests and hobbies. Moreover, you will experience love in its varying forms; you may go on holiday and fall in love with a particular city, cuisine or culture. What’s vital is that you embrace everything that you love and enjoy.
Having a purpose is a fundamental component of living a fulfilling life. Without purpose, we won’t have the motivation to achieve great things or even do something simple such as getting out of bed in the morning. According to psychologist Steve Taylor, not having a purpose ‘makes us more vulnerable to boredom, anxiety, and depression.’
Meanwhile, having a strong sense of purpose can have a positive effect on our lives. If you take a page out of the books of successful entrepreneurs, most of them made it by having a drive and a sense of purpose. They worked hard because they were confident of what they could achieve – and this purpose is something that we need to follow to feel accomplished in life.
Need help here? Try the highly rated online course Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life at the University of Michigan, over on Coursera.
Along with purpose comes passion; our desires, our dreams and our hopes in life. When you’re passionate about something, you’re going to work hard to achieve it. For example, Huda Kattan was a self-established makeup artist, but her passion for cosmetics pushed her to build a beauty empire that’s now worth over $600 million.
That said, passion looks different for everyone; some people will be passionate about giving back to society, while others will have a passion for personal gain. Just ensure that your passion is for a good cause and that it brings joy not only to yourself but to others, too.
Helpful resources we recommend
Take advantage of direct, expert advice from successful personalities who have overcome all types of hurdles, and improve your overall life and happiness.
We recommend the following classes and materials:
- Jon Kabat-Zinn Teaches Mindfulness & Meditation (video class)
- Tony Robbins' Ultimate Edge (3-part programme, video and audio)
- Andy Storch’s Own Your Career Own Your Life (Kindle and book) paid link
- Viktor Frankl’s Man's Search for Meaning (Kindle and book) paid link
Besides having a healthy body, it’s essential to have a healthy mind also! Luckily, we live in a time where mental wellbeing is at the forefront, and those who struggle with any mental health disorders are being given the treatment and care that they need to lead a happy life.
That said, there are many ways that you can improve your wellbeing. Find activities that help you relax; whether it’s meditating daily, listening to a motivational podcast or simply going for a walk to gather your thoughts. Whatever method you choose, ensure that your wellbeing is at the forefront of each of these activities.
Having a good education will help you progress in life. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must complete higher education to be successful. What it does mean is that you should continue to learn new things on a daily basis.
The method of education is entirely up to you – you might want to watch an education video, documentary or film; read a book or the news. What is important is the knowledge you gain from your education and how you choose to apply it within your life.
Not sure where to start? Browse for popular and university accredited degrees and courses at Coursera.
Having the ability to value time really matters in life. Time is precious and priceless, and it should be taken advantage of. When we have a better understanding of time, we can form good habits and structure our daily activities. We can do things that will help us progress and also schedule time to spend with family, friends and hobbies.
See also: How to Improve Your Time Management
Water is the most critical part of survival – without clean water, we wouldn’t be able to live. Our bodies are made up of up to 60% of water, and it’s used in all our cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate our temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Therefore, to ensure that we aren’t dehydrated and at risk of falling ill, we need to drink at least six glasses of water per day.
While food can be an indulgence and a hobby, it’s also a necessary part of our existence. Our body will need carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins to function and stay healthy. So, to maintain our health, we need to rely on a healthy and balanced diet.
Sleep also plays a vital role in our physical and mental wellbeing. As reported in Healthline, ‘Sleeping less than 7–8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.’ But lack of sleep doesn’t only put our health at risk, as it also has a negative effect on our mood. Ever noticed how you’ve been grouchy and irritable when you’ve not had enough sleep? That’s because poor sleep quality is directly linked to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
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So, now that you’re more aware of the factors of our lives that really do matter, you might have a different outlook on what’s important and spend less time thinking of superficial matters.
Get involved! What’s the most important thing in your life? Get involved in the conversation and let us know in the comment section below!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 17 April 2015.