Occupational Wellness Dimension Exercises
...existence means the action...
For the means is a unity of inner and outer
The occupation gives us the meaning of life in the form of the purpose, making the life purpose driven.
In other words the occupation contributes to the wellness as the life drive.
It may be easily seen in affluent countries where many people may stop to work and still get enough money to satisfy their basic needs. If they will not find the permanent occupation that is equivalent to work, they quickly become boring and unhappy i.e. loose their wellness. It is true not only for the unemployment and retired people but even for the people who are wealthy enough to stop working or never work.
The reason is that once the basic physiological needs may be easily met they stop to be the motivation to live because cannot occupy our conscious for a long time. "Want that is satisfied is no longer a want".
If we have money, it takes only about an hour to lunch. If we try to cheat the nature and make the eating our occupation, we become fat and loose the wellness. The similar is true for all other basic needs (also called deficiency needs) including the body comfort of different kinds. Neither of them is good for the wellness as the purpose of life or life drive.
For example, there were psychological experiments, when people in flotation tanks literally did nothing in complete comfort. These experiments have shown that though the less than hour sessions are rather pleasant and relaxing (people feel like they sleep aware of their seeping), common reactions to the extended sensory deprivation are anxiety, depression and other disorders. NASA drew a similar conclusion. In the accordance with the universal wellness entropy law, since the people in the tanks did literally nothing they lost their wellness.
We see that the wellness is impossible without an occupation. However, not every occupation is good for the wellness. The occupation should produce the result that is appreciated and recognized by others i.e. really useful for them. This is actually the moment when we are happy because as it was proven in psychology people need recognition, attention, importance or appreciation.
Naturally, the more useful results we produce, the more people reward us with their appreciation and therefore we should always try to find the occupation where we are virtually indispensable and also try to continuously increase our skill. As wrote Maslow who discovered the hierarch of human needs "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be". If we fill that we either cannot improve our skill or could be more successful in other domain we should at least try to change our occupation for the sake of our wellness.
We would like to stress that the needs to be useful and respected is not the same as the love / belonging needs. Love / belonging needs are interpersonal relationships and were discussed in Social Wellness Exercises page. We work for other people not to get their love. We usually work for money and money is the measure of our usefulness and not to what an extent the boss who pays us the salary likes to do it.
Even if we work not for money it is naive to believe that people will like us just for our usefulness. We work to be occupied and feel useful and our wellness is maintained because, when we are occupied with the work, we have no time to think about something sad that we cannot change in any case, "people can be conscious of only one densely coherent stream of events at a time". Instead, we just live. In a way we really live only when we are occupied with something. "...existence means the action..."
We need to give the result of our work to other people so that they confirm either by paying us money or directly the meaning of our efforts and hence the meaning of our life. It is the moment of truth. "For the means is a unity of inner and outer". We cannot know the real meaning without the social interactions with others because reality is socially constructed.
Actually the feeling to be occupied and useful may be very addictive. For example in 2004 the cause of the divorce in 6% cases was workaholism. So we need the wellness monitor to balance the work with the interpersonal relationships and other wellness dimensions. It is often loosely called work-life balance though, as we have dicussed, the work is also the part of the life.
As for how much to work the general upper limit is well known. It is usually seven hours a day, if we subtract the lunch time, and five days a week . As for minimum, to produce something useful we should in general spend at least 45 minutes a day and better 2x45. The rule of thumb is that if your basic needs are satisfied and the life appears to be dull you should increase the time for the occupational exercises. You however should use the wellness monitor to be sure that other wellness dimensions are not neglected and your life is balanced.
And remember that in general at least 45 minutes from your occupational time you should spend to improve your skill or searching for new work if the present does not allow you reveal all your best natural abilities.
We should also discuss the result of our work with our customers, clients or bosses at least once a week because if we do it less often they simply forget the previous discussion and will not be able estimate or appreciate our work.
The time for the different occupational "exercises" as well as other wellness exercises is listed in Typical Wellness Exercise Program page.
Appendix. Hegel about WellnessAt the end we would like to share our surprise that as early as in year 1807 great German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel not only foresaw the results of many modern psychological experiments mentioned here, but also described the relation between the wellness and occupation.
In 1807 the words "wellness", "occupation" as well as many other modern terms and words simply did not exist and therefore Hegel is rather difficult to understand, nevertheless here is what he wrote in The Phenomenology of Mind (1807), "...nature of work ... is a self-expression of individuality. The individual, therefore, knowing that he can find in his objective actuality nothing but its unity with himself or can find only the certainty of himself in its very truth, and knowing that he thus always attains his purpose--can experience only a sense of joy in himself."