6 positive wellbeing trends for 2022

As a coach and therapist, I talk to people seeking to measurably change their mental and physical wellbeing. And in a career spanning over 16 years, during which I have worked with around 3,500 people from a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds, there is little I haven’t come across. The range of wellbeing options is vast. There is no shortage of ways to get ourselves and our lives into the best possible shape, from the traditional to the high-tech. The multi-billion pound wellbeing industry is a testament to growing public awareness that we don’t have much else if we don’t have positive wellbeing. However, here’s the rub. Achieving positive wellbeing is hard. If it weren’t, the statistics would tell a different story. The good news is that with the right approach achieving positive wellbeing isn’t rocket science – if you follow the right trends. In this blog, 6 positive wellbeing trends for 2022, I look at 6 of them that can make the difference you are after.

A series of arrows pointing in an upwards direction. They are a metaphor for the 6 positive wellbeing trends featured in this blog.

What is positive wellbeing?

The concept of wellbeing isn’t new, even if the term is (relatively). Human beings have been seeking positive wellbeing for as long as there have been human beings because being ‘comfortable, healthy and happy’ is a primary human drive or instinct. In my work, I look at the areas below when supporting people with their wellbeing:

  • Identity, their self-esteem and self-worth
  • Home and family life
  • Relationships
  • Career/professional development
  • Health (mental and/or physical)
  • Financial
  • Lifestyle
  • Social and cultural
  • Environment

However, wellbeing can be easier to define than attain as it requires constant investment as we move through different life stages. For example, positive wellbeing for someone in their twenties will be very different to someone in their fifties. My professions, coaching and therapy, are just two of many helping people find the right positive wellbeing trends in 2022.

6 positive wellbeing trends for 2022: conversations

The first trend is conversations because it has become increasingly apparent at home and in the workplace that the state of our wellbeing is a reflection of them. Effective conversations (Conversations With Impact), those we have with ourselves (self-talk) and those we have with others act as anchors for our wellbeing. By providing the qualities and characteristics we need, positive conversations allow us to flourish in the good times and be resilient through the bad ones. Someone struggling over a long period is someone whose conversations are missing the attributes they need.

Developing a conversational strategy is vital. Through monitoring and assessment, we can identify which of our existing conversations are having a positive or negative impact on our wellbeing. Once know this, we can:

  • strengthen positive conversations
  • rebuild or end negative ones
  • find someone new to talk to

What combination of options we go with and how much we invest in each depends on the effect on our wellbeing. Our goal must be to adjust the ratio of each until our wellbeing is where we want it to be. The activity below can help.

Conversations With Impact Questionnaires

Start by listing your existing conversations, including your self-talk. Then, looking at the list below, consider the importance of each quality or characteristic to you. Choose a number between 1 and 7 (1=none at all, 7=all that you need) that reflects the degree to which a conversation possesses each quality or characteristic. If one is not essential to you, i.e. it makes no difference one way or the other, give it a 7. For those that are important to you, score it appropriately. For your self-talk, replace ‘the person’ with ‘myself’ for the first statement, and then replace the pronouns for the others. For example, ‘I trust myself,’ ‘I understand myself and what I need from me.’

  • I trust the person
  • They understand me and what I need from them
  • I feel respected by them
  • They have the ideas, skills and knowledge I need
  • They do not judge me and accept me for who I am
  • They have the ideas, skills and knowledge I need
  • The conversation follows my agenda, not theirs
  • They believe in me and my potential for change
  • They give me the time that I need
  • I feel challenged by them in a good way
  • They respect my need for confidentiality
  • I feel they genuinely listen to me
  • I can say what I really want to them
  • They are truly interested in me
  • They help me to make sense of my situation
  • They help me set clear, realistic goals and strategies
  • They help me find solutions
  • My conversations with them make a difference
  • They have the X-Factor

As a general rule:

  • Scores of 3 or below usually indicate conversations that significantly undermine wellbeing
  • Scores of 4 or 5 usually indicate conversations that will have a neutral effect on wellbeing
  • Scores of 6 or 7 usually indicate conversations that substantially enhance wellbeing

What did you discover? If your scores are mainly low, how can you transform your conversations into ones that support your wellbeing? Can you ask your existing support network to help, or do you need someone new to talk to? Or if your scores are mainly high, how can you ensure your conversations continue as they are?

Emotions and the search for meaning

The next trend is emotions. In recent years, emotions have received greater attention and prominence. People are much better educated about conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression, for example. However, while this trend is to be encouraged, I think there is still a lot of misunderstanding. Too often, people focus on the symptoms and effects of emotions, such as poor motivation, intrusive thoughts and irritability. While understandable, a focus on symptoms and effects is the equivalent of adding two and two and making five. To properly understand emotions, we need to understand their purpose. Emotions are really messages sent from what I call our emotional self, communicating about the only thing that matters: our thriving and surviving, or the ability to make hay while the sun shines and to be resilient when it isn’t.

Befriending your emotional self

Understood in this way: difficult emotions are how our emotional self expresses its concern about the state of our thriving and surviving, and positive emotions are how it communicates its contentment. The key word here is ‘communicate’. Every time we experience an emotion, our emotional self is inviting us to form a dialogue with them, so we:

  • acknowledge receipt of their message
  • translate it accurately
  • respond to it appropriately

There are two parts to its emotional messages our emotional self needs us to know. Part one concerns the causes of our emotions, and part two the solutions to those causes. Now, our emotional selves take their job very seriously because our thriving and surviving is so critical. If we ignore them when we struggle in life, as many people unfortunately do, they don’t shrug their shoulders and go away. Instead, they dig their heels in and redouble their efforts to get their message through. If you want to know how determined our emotional selves can be, you only need to look at the severe end of the mental health spectrum. So, be kind to yourself and give your emotional self what they want: you in ‘conversation’ with them. In the section below is an activity that can help.

The Meaning Map

The Meaning Map connects emotions to the areas (causes) that make up our overall wellbeing. Completing the activity will help you identify which areas you need to find solutions for.

Using a 0-10 scale (10=an area in great shape, 0=an area in very poor shape), choose a number that captures how you feel about each area listed below. 

  • Identity: self-esteem/worth, role and status
  • Home and family life
  • Relationships
  • Work/Career/professional
  • Health (mental and/or physical)
  • Financial
  • Lifestyle
  • Social and cultural
  • Environment
  • Past, present or future

As a general rule, scores of:

  • 7 or more indicate areas in great shape that will already be boosting your wellbeing. Just keep doing what you are doing
  • 5 or 6 indicate areas that are in reasonable shape but will need some focus 
  • 4 or below indicate areas in very poor shape. These will definitely be undermining your wellbeing and will require immediate attention

What did you discover? Has the activity helped you to identify the areas of your life you need to work on?

Patterns of wellbeing

Trend three is patterns. If you were to put your wellbeing under a microscope, you would see that it consists of the following four distinct types of patterns:

  • thought
  • behaviour
  • feeling
  • relating (to people, places and ‘stuff’)

These patterns provide social media feeds with oceans of content, but people often tackle them in isolation e.g., establishing a routine of positive behaviours such as getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthily and exercising regularly, while neglecting people-pleasing patterns in relationships. Only harmonising all four patterns makes a sustainable difference to our wellbeing.

Aligning your patterns in ways that support your wellbeing means understanding them in more detail, for which my Pattern Builder activity below has been designed. However, what you see under your microscope will differ from what I see under mine. Once you have a complete picture of your patterns, it is much easier to identify patterns you want to strengthen or replace to enhance your wellbeing.

The Pattern Builder

The Pattern Builder can help you build up a detailed picture of a difficult personal or professional challenge, such as losing weight or changing jobs, that is dominating your patterns of thinking, behaving, feeling and relating and undermining your wellbeing. The activity can increase your awareness of the issue and what you can do about it and make a valuable contribution to the work on your limiting beliefs.

  1. When, where and with whom were you when your problem started?
  2. What stressors or changes were occurring in your life around the start of the problem?
  3. How often does the problem occur, and how long does it last
  4. What significant persons are present or absent when the problem occurs?
  5. Where does the problem occur?
  6. What are the steps involved in the generation of the problem? Put another way, can you identify the stages where you go from not doing the problem to doing it?
  7. When does the problem NOT occur?
  8. What do you think other people know about your problems e.g. friends, family or colleagues?
  9. What are your beliefs about the problem? For example, I can never change it? It’s my fault that I have it? Or I can change it, and I am not to blame?

The Pattern Builder activity is worth repeating as doing so can help you build up a helpful level of detail upon which you can act.

The power of acceptance

One major cause of poor wellbeing is becoming too attached to positivity, to positive periods. As one of my clients memorably put it, “The idea that they [positive periods] came to an end used to terrify me.” For them, as for so many people, this fear results in desperation, a modern phenomenon sometimes called ‘toxic positivity’. Acceptance is the antidote to this toxicity and is the fourth of my positive wellbeing trends. While not a new concept, acceptance is being ‘rediscovered’ for its ability to help us safely navigate our exit from the good times, and cope with the ‘bad’ ones while we turn things around.

Adversity is a part of life, but when we can’t or won’t accept it, we open up what I call a ‘Fantasy-Reality Gap’ (FRG). An FRG is the difference between how things are and how we want them to be. The bigger the FRG, the worse for our wellbeing they become because FRGs represent unsustainable ways of living, like rowing ever faster in a sinking boat. Below are some common FRGs that I come across.

  • identity, role and status
  • beliefs
  • self-esteem and self-worth
  • personal qualities and
    characteristics such as intelligence
  • capabilities, strengths and
  • social and cultural circumstances
  • relationship status
  • wealth
  • professional status

A struggle to accept

So why do so many people struggle with acceptance? One explanation is that people see acceptance as a form of resignation, of giving up on life. This is a shame because this is a gross misunderstanding. Anyone who has overcome adversity will tell you that acceptance is not resignation but always the first stage of transformation. Once we accept, we can act.

So how do you know if you struggle with acceptance and are living with an FRG? Luckily, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for, some of which are listed below.

Signs of an unhelpful FRG:

  • Poor mental health and wellbeing
  • difficult emotions such as stress, anxiety
  • depression or anger
  • self-criticism/negative self-talk
  • negative thoughts, unwanted intrusive thoughts
  • negative, self-limiting beliefs
  • low self-esteem, self-worth and low confidence
  • negative memories
  • tiredness, fatigue, exhaustion
  • poor motivation
  • poor sleep
  • avoidance
  • procrastination
  • perfectionism and a fear of failure
  • impatience, frustration
  • obsessive, compulsive, addictive behaviours
  • self-sabotage, self-destruct
  • denial, secrecy
  • poor self-care/neglect

Do you recognise any of these signs? If you do, look back at the types of FRG above, and consider which might apply to you. Finding your positive wellbeing trends depends on it.

Stepping up to the challenge

For many people, 2022 is a year of responding to the challenges of the previous two years by finding the positive wellbeing trends that will make the difference they are after. Personally and professionally, many of us are putting our lives back together following illness and economic hardship or even reappraising how we want to work and live. How successful we are depends on whether we make my fifth wellbeing trend, challenge, work for rather than against us.

It is a straightforward calculation to know if we have too little or too much challenge in life. We simply need to ask ourselves if we are making progress towards important personal or professional goals. If we are, then we have a helpful amount of challenge, and if we aren’t, then we don’t. Too little challenge makes us vulnerable to boredom and hopelessness, while too much leads to stress and burnout. The good news is that we can adjust our level of challenge in most circumstances until we find what I call the ‘sweet spot of challenge’, the level that makes progress possible.

Too little or too much challenge is always a matter of resources, and that we don’t have enough of what we need. To find our sweet spot, we need to:

  • identify the resources we need more of
  • locate them
  • gather them in sufficient quantity
  • put them to use

In the section below is my Challenge Audit activity, which can help you find your sweet spot of challenge.

The Challenge Audit

Look at the nine categories of resources below, and then complete the steps underneath.

  • RESOURCES (information, knowledge, technology) Do I have what I need? If I don’t, can I find them myself, or does someone else have what I need?
  • SKILLS & ABILITIES Do I have what is required? If I don’t, can I develop them independently, or will I need support?
  • CONFIDENCE & BELIEF Do I have enough? If I don’t, can I build these qualities on my own, or will I need the backing of others?
  • WELLBEING Do I feel resilient? If I don’t, can I increase my own resilience, or will I need encouragement?
  • SUPPORT Do I have enough around me? If I don’t, where does it exist, and who will provide it?
  • MOTIVATION Do I feel sufficiently energised? If I don’t, can I galvanise myself, or will I need inspiration from colleagues and peers?
  • TIME Do I have spare capacity? If I don’t, can I create it individually, or will I need to collaborate?
  • ENVIRONMENT Am I in the right environment? If not, can I change my existing surroundings, or do I need to be somewhere else?
  • STRATEGY Do I have the right strategy? If I don’t, how will I acquire it? On my own or through co-operation

To establish if you have the resources, you need to get your wellbeing to where you want it to be, choose a number between 0 and 10 (0=none at all, 10=all that you need) that represents how much of each you currently possess. As a general rule:

  • Scores of seven or above indicate you have an ample amount of a resource
  • Scores of five or six indicate you have some of a resource but will need to obtain more of it soon
  • Scores of four or below indicate you are severely lacking in a resource and need to acquire more of it as quickly as possible

If you have more high scores than low ones, there is a good chance you have sufficient resources. However, if your scores are on the low side, the opposite will likely be true. Whatever you discovered, you now know what resources you need to preserve or find more of.

6 positive wellbeing trends for 2022: transformation

My final wellbeing trend is transformation, and there is a good reason for this. It is an inescapable fact that we are transforming whether we like it or not, otherwise known as the ageing process. Now I don’t know about you, but this is one process I want to be in control of. When we are in control, when individually and collectively, personally and professionally, the trajectory of our transformation is on track, we will make a significant contribution to our overall wellbeing. There is, though, an ‘art’ to transformation. We need to know which areas of our lives require our attention and which can be left alone so we don’t waste valuable time, energy and sometimes money on expensive transformational journeys headed for uncertain destinations.

One highly effective – and efficient – approach is prioritisation. Knowing what to concentrate on avoids misdiagnosis and helps us ask some powerful questions, such as:

  • how do I want to transform these areas?
  • what will they look like when I have succeeded?
  • what barriers to transformation do I face e.g., a lack of confidence or support?
  • can I do the work by myself/with my existing support network?
  • do I need someone new to talk to?

So, to boost your wellbeing by mastering the art of your transformation, revisit The Meaning Map activity above because it will have already helped you identify your priority areas. Then complete my Destination Finder activity in the next section which ties your overall transformation together.

The Destination Finder

My Destination Finder activity can help you visualise your desired destination of a life based on positive wellbeing, and the journey to take you there. So, taking your priority areas from The Meaning Map activity, follow the steps below.

  • Step One: establish your current reality: how are your life and wellbeing right now? Describe yourself, what you do, and the life you lead in as much detail as possible.
  • Step Two: now establish a desired future destination for yourself based on positive wellbeing. Who would you like to be, what would you like to be doing, and what life would you like to be leading?
  • Step Three: establish a timeline of when this transformation might occur, i.e. when you have reached your destination. For example, is it a month, 6 months or a year?
  • Step Four: take some time to deepen the ‘vision’ of your destination. Make it a multisensory experience: imagine, engage and fully ’embody’ this future state for yourself. Some questions you can ask are: What is happening? What do I see? Who am I now? What am I doing? What has changed? How have I changed? Speak as if your desired future were a reality, i.e. “This is who I am, this is what I am doing, and this is the life I am living.”
  • Step 5: from this future state, look back and describe the journey you took to get to your destination. Travel back through the stages you went through, speaking in the present as if you are there, e.g. “To get to this stage, I achieved this,” or “To get to that stage I achieved that.”
  • Step Six: Then bring yourself back to the present—the now—and explore what this exercise has given you in terms of learning, understanding and insight. What actions will you take to start the journey that will take you to your desired destination?
  • Step Seven: approach this exercise as a work in progress. Repeating regularly will help maintain your progress towards a life of positive wellbeing.

6 positive wellbeing trends for 2022: getting support

I hope you have enjoyed my blog, 6 positive wellbeing trends for 2022. If you would like support to improve your wellbeing, I’d love to hear from you. My IMPACT Model and IMPACT Programmes have helped many people achieve to make the life that they want (read my testimonials).

To book an initial consultation, visit my Make a Booking page. You will have the opportunity to tell me about what you are going through and find out how I can support you. Even if you choose not to work with me, I promise your consultation will give you more ideas, knowledge and insight than you had before.

Here is another good article on limiting beliefs.