"...optimising well-being and increasing life expectancy are largely about getting the simple things right - regular exercise, eating healthy food and decluttering the mind through meditation. It also helps to work in a job that keeps you stimulated. Another factor is genes. If you have good genes and lead a healthy, well balanced life should......improve your prospects of longevity by around 30%. The lifespan paradox is that you get more bang from your exercise buck if you start behind the proverbial genetic eight ball. Those with lower quality genetical make up can triple their prospects for a long life with regular exercise and good habits..."

Elizabeth Blackburn (Nobel Laureate) as quoted by Andrew Clark 2019

Healthy habits

How to shrink the gap between health span and your lifespan? This can be done by

"...diligently maintaining at least four of the following five health habits: never smoke; drink moderately; have a balanced diet; stay slim and have at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day..."

Jill Margo 2020

By following these healthy habits you reduce the chances of the 3 most common chronic diseases like diabetes type II, cancer and cardiovascular diseases (stroke and heart issues). The number of extra disease-free years increases with each additional health habit.

Wellness revolves around boosting people’s health and sense of well-being

It is more than just having access to a yoga class, or gym, or a few pot plants in the office, or native bushes growing in the car park, or more greenery in the office, or the physical design of offices, or natural light. It's about the way you feel, ie

"...if you're walking beside a forest, versus walking through the forest, there's a whole lot of difference to the way you feel..."

Michael Bleby 2019a

If you want your staff and yourself to perform well, you need to look after your and their health (including emotional). Technology can help you

"...track your physical health, your exercise, your sleep, your screen time, your drinking, your mood and your worries......some of the key drivers of good mental health and well-being include eating well, exercising and getting sufficient sleep..."

Jennie Hudson 2018

The aim is to design spaces that increase the awareness of your own state and can elevate your mood and mind. People will prefer going to place(s) that make them feel better.

There is an additional increasing focus using building materials that are safe and ethically-sourced, durable and reusable, rather than just ending up in landfill.

. More education is associated with higher evaluation of one's life, but not necessarily with greater experienced well-being as the more educated tend to have higher stress.

. Ill-health has a much stronger adverse effect on experience well-being than on life evaluation.

. Working in a toxic office is not good for your health (Helen Hawkes, 2015b). Conditions created poor air quality, poor building design, etc can have a detrimental effect on your health and wellness.

Symptoms of poor quality air are dizziness, nausea, discomfort (in eyes, nose and throat), itchy skin, fatigue and inability to concentrate.

Poor quality air is not helped with the pollutants like formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (benzene and trichloroethylene), airborne biological pollutants, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, pesticides, disinfectants (phenols), etc

Essential equipment should provide ergonomic benefits to improve musculoskeletal outcomes like

- document holders
- rests for wrists and feet,
- desks with adjustable heights to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury
- chairs which provide support for your back
- antiglare filters on digital devices to reduce eyestrain, headaches and neck pain
- isolate printers as the toners emit volatile organic compounds

Also important are

- adequate ventilation, ie well maintained air-conditioning systems that remove carbon dioxide and other pollutants

- taking regular breaks every 30 minutes, ie the brain needs a rest; taking a short walk outdoors is beneficial. Activities like remedial massages, pilates, yoga, etc can help keep your spine in good order while building strong core muscles and increased energy reserves

- certain plants like peace lilies and rubber plants absorb pollutants and provide fresh air and humidity that makes us healthier

- phones and desks carry many thousands of germs per square centimetre, ie they harbour several hundred times more bacteria than the typical toilet seat!!!!!

The jury is still out on the impacts of electromagnetic radiation from computers

These are all additional to office politics which can be the most toxic of all on our health and well-being

. Living with children can pose a significant cost on feelings, like stress and anger; while the adverse effects on life evaluation are smaller.

. Religious participation has a relatively greater favourable impact on both positive effect and stress reduction than on life evaluation. Yet religion provides no reduction of feelings of depression or worry.

. Can money buy happiness? The answer is being poor makes one miserable while being rich may enhance one's life satisfaction but generally does not improve experienced well-being. Severe poverty amplifies the experienced effect of other misfortunes of life. For example, illness is much worse for the very poor than those who are wealthier.

. A headache doubles the proportion reporting sadness and worry to 38% in the top two thirds of income distribution.

. Experienced well-being no longer increases with household income above US$ 75,000, despite higher income allowing the purchase of many consumer durables and pleasures. As you buy more pleasurable experiences, you will lose some of the ability to enjoy the less expensive ones.

. There are clear contrasts between the effect of income on experienced well-being and on life satisfaction; higher income brings with it higher satisfaction.

. Once the novelty wears off, experienced well-being can diminish, eg marriage where newlyweds are generally considerably happier than older couples.

"...One reason for the low correlations between individuals' circumstances and their satisfaction with life is that both experienced happiness and life satisfaction are largely determined by the genetics of temperament. A disposition for well-being is as inheritable as height or intelligence as demonstrated by studies of twins separated at birth..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

NB the picture is very situational, ie what is good for some people is bad for others; in new situations, there are both benefits and costs

. Well-being is linked to what people want, ie goals

. Where attention is focused will impact evaluation of happiness, etc

. Focusing illusion = nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it. For example, some people incorrectly think warmer climates are preferred to colder ones. This error is an exaggerated belief in the importance of climate for determining happiness.

. The essence of focusing illusion is WYSIATI and giving too much weight to climate as against other determinants of well-being, especially over time as the new situation becomes more familiar than the norm. Some exceptions to this are chronic pain, constant exposure to loud noise and severe depression. Pain is our biologically signals that attract attention, and depression involves reinforcing the cycle of miserable thoughts. There is no adaptation to these conditions, ie

"...Adaptation to a new situation, whether good or bad, consists in a large part of thinking less and less about it..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

. One of the mistakes that people make in focusing illusion involves attention to selected moments and being neglectful of what happens at other times

. Miswanting = describes bad choices that arise from areas of affective forecasting. It makes us more likely to exaggerate the effect of a significant change of circumstances on a future well-being. It creates a bias in favour of goods and experiences that are initially exciting. Your new experiences are novel and exciting at the start but can eventually lose their appeal.


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