A life worth living. It’s an important concept and is found in various therapeutic approaches to help people achieve well-being. It sounds appealing—a life worth living means that you’ve got really good things in your life that you want to be around for.
It sounds appealing because it is appealing. It feels great to know that your life is a good one and that you have reasons to get up and keep moving. I think that for me the feeling is especially strong because I haven’t always felt that I had such a life.
I’ve always been an optimist, even in my darkest times. That glass? It’s always been half-full, not half-empty because I truly was (and am) someone who focuses on what is there rather than what is lacking. Yet there was a period of time during which I could think positive thoughts, but I just didn’t feel them deep within. It was a time of dealing with a brain injury, a diagnosis of mental illness, hospitalizations in a behavioral health hospital, and stress within my family.
There were times that it was difficult to function, and life seemed pretty miserable—definitely not “a life worth living.” That time most definitely didn’t last forever. I took charge of my well-being, embraced the fact that I did, indeed, want to have mental health (as I discussed in the last post, it is possible to have mental health even though you live with mental illness because they’re not either-or states of being). Since that decision, I’ve actively sought a life worth living.
Mental health and well-being are within everyone’s reach. Mental health isn’t reserved for a select few who have money or health or great jobs or fast cars. It’s for everyone.
Everyone deserves, and can achieve, a life worth living. It’s not always easy, but it’s possible. Having a life worth living doesn’t have prerequisites. You don’t have to have certain things in order to achieve it. It is in reach no matter what you’re dealing with or how bad things are in your life or what mental health struggles you face.
Ways to Make a Life Worth Living
Below is a list of five of my favorite things on the journey to mental health and a life worth living. I have more, but these are some of the most effective things I do on an ongoing basis for my own well-being.
- Visualize what “a life worth living” looks like to you (and don’t worry about what it “should” look like based on other people’s ideas).
- Think about what part of that you already have, and focus on those aspects.
- Decide what changes you want to make, and start making them little by little.
- While it’s healthy to have a goal you’re working for, don’t forget to notice all of the good things in and around you right now. Let your mind and heart be present in the good parts of the here and now.
- Keep a gratitude journal (or app on your phone such as Happy Tappers). Writing down 3-5 things every day that you’re grateful for or happy about will help you see that you do have a life worth living.
Part of mental health truly does involve feeling like you love (or at least really like) your life. Not always feeling it is part of being human. Fortunately, part of being human is the ability to, step by small step, achieve a life worth living and the well-being that accompanies it.