Influences That Can Affect a Person's Life
WhatToGetMy Instructional Article
- Influences that can affect a person’s life talks to factors that can have an impact on the individual’s quality of life.
- An individual’s quality of life is the total sum of the individual’s life and how the individual handles each area of their life.
- Our attitude and disposition to life, our lifestyle choices, and behavioral patterns, and as well as our environment can all have an impact on our quality of life.
- To counter a negative quality of life, we have to adopt those elements that are most important to a good quality of life. When we allow these elements to positively influence us, we can say that these influences have positively affected our lives and enhanced our quality of life for the better.
INFLUENCES THAT CAN AFFECT A PERSON’S LIFE – QUALITY OF LIFE.
Influences that can affect a person’s life refers to those factors that influence the quality of life of an individual. One’s quality of life is not to be confused with one’s standard of living. The Standard of living is more of an economic principle that refers to one’s level and source of income and how rich or poor they may be. Quality of life on the other hand goes beyond that and refers to “the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group.” (Lexico.com).
The World Health Organization defines it as “an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns.” What this means, therefore, is that every aspect of your life and how you handle it will have a bearing on your quality of life whether for good or for bad.
In this article, we discuss the factors that have the greatest impact on our quality of life, important factors for a good quality life and the positive influences that can affect a person’s life that we need to adopt for a good quality of life.
QUALITY OF LIFE AND LIFE EXPECTANCY IN THE UNITED STATES – THE BRIEF STATS.
Low quality of life usually, but not always, translates to a low life expectancy. And if that is the case, then the United States isn’t doing too bad. According to data from the World Bank, for a ten year period between 2008 and 2018, the United States maintained a consistent life expectancy at the age of 78, and this is despite the fluctuating poverty rate in the same period (according to the US Census Bureau). This seems consistent with the notion that the standard of living is not the sole determinant of a person’s quality of life. Quality of life is all about the individual’s lifestyle choices and patterns.
United States: Life Expectancy at Birth From 2008 to 2018. Source: World Bank
Poverty rate in the United States from 1990 to 2018 Source: US Census Bureau
This is surprising and encouraging, given that according to an earlier study in 2017, 51% of Americans were of the view that life expectancy in the US was on the decline as a result of drugs and alcohol abuse.
Which of the following would you say are contributing to declining life expectancy in the U.S? (2017) Source: Research America
What this latter study confirms is what was said earlier – that one’s quality of life is intricately tied with one’s lifestyle choices and decisions. And in this article, we will show you what positive lifestyle choices and habits to adopt for great quality of life.
WHAT AFFECTS QUALITY OF LIFE? FACTORS THAT HAVE THE GREATEST IMPACT ON QUALITY OF LIFE.
Ordinarily, factors like age should not have so much of a bearing on one’s quality of life. But it seems, 42% of Americans according to a 2018 study believed that with age, the quality of life diminished.
Percentage of U.S. Adults Who Agreed That With Aging Quality of Life Decreases as of 2018. Source: AARP
This is arguable and very debatable but we will leave the debate for the scholars to embark on. It is our firm belief though that your age should not determine your quality of life and here’s why. While age may play a role in the quality of life, as we will show you later, it should not in any way diminish your quality of life because you are as old as you feel. Ultimately, your quality of life will be determined by you and the choices you make, regardless of your age. With that said, let us examine the factors that have the greatest impact on our quality of life.
There are 3 key things that have the greatest impact on our quality of life:
The biggest factor that affects human behavior and influences our lives and resultantly affects the quality of our lives, is our environment. Our environment refers to the surroundings around which we grew up in. Our environment often affects the choices and decisions that we make. To give an example. Take a child for example who grew up in a home where the parents hardly spent time with him/her. This child grows up believing that there is no value or benefit to spending time with your children and repeats the same cycle with his/her own children. This lack of connecting with his/her children will in turn affect the said children who may end up repeating the same vicious pattern when they grow up. So you understand that our environment has the greatest impact on our quality of life because it is our environment that most often affects human behavior and defines the choices we make in life.
But it does not always have to be the case, and we will show you how to break the mold in the section on how to adopt positive influences.
Our attitude and approach to life.
A person’s attitude and approach to life refer to the way they handle matters that arise in their life and the disposition they adapt to it. For instance, a person who believes that somehow they are destined to always have negative things happen to them will never see anything good about their lives. When they look all around them, all they see is problems and enemies. And before long, such a person sinks into depression. And with depression, the quality of their life is reduced because the depression will have a knock-off effect on other areas of their life like their physical and psychological well-being.
Your approach and attitude in life also influence the decisions you make, and these in turn affect your quality of life. To give another example. As a result of one bad relationship, a woman/man decides that trusting someone and being vulnerable is not worth it. When eventually the right person comes along, she/he pushes them away because they’ve adopted the approach to relationships that no one can be trusted.
Attitude and approach are intertwined with our minds. Our attitudes and approach are formed in our minds. And so where the work to change our attitude and approach starts is in our mind. And we will show you how. Read on.
Our lifestyle choices and behavioral patterns.
Numbers 1 and 2 influences discussed above ultimately lead to this final influence. Our environment often defines our attitudes and approach, and this in turn affects the decisions, choices, and patterns we cultivate. Lifestyle choices and behavioral patterns talk to things like what we eat; how we take care of our bodies; the friends and company we keep; the activities we engage in and overall how we interact with the world around us.
Lifestyle choices like refusing to keep fit by staying physically active or choosing to eat only fatty and unhealthy food will all lead to a deteriorating quality of life. Surrounding yourself with toxic people and choosing to stay on in a negative relationship that would only pull you down and affect your psychological and mental health will deteriorate your quality of life. Whatever reasons you may have for making negative lifestyle choices and behavioral patterns, these behaviors will not enhance your quality of life; they would only diminish it further.
THINGS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO QUALITY OF LIFE – IMPORTANT FACTORS OF A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE.
These refer to factors that can lengthen our days and ensure that we have long healthy quality lives. (Refer to our earlier article on How We Can Protect Our Health and Lengthen Our Days, for more health guidelines that would guarantee long life).
Views of U.S. adults on factors important for a good quality of life in older age in 2013, by age group. Source: Statista
According to the above 2013 study, a great deal of Americans believes that doing things like talking and communicating and enjoying life are important factors for a good quality of life. And again they are not wrong. All these factors again boil down to the 3 main factors that impact our quality of life – our environment; our attitude and approach to life; and our lifestyle choices and behavioral patterns.
Being able to talk and communicate for example speaks to our attitude and approach to life. If we have a bad attitude, we find it difficult to communicate better. Enjoying life, being able to dress and feed oneself speaks to lifestyle choices that we make in terms of taking care of ourselves. Feeling that what one does is worthwhile speaks to the environment we find ourselves in. All these show that these 3 factors – environment, attitude, and choices are very critical and important to have a good quality of life.
How do we change these 3 factors positively in order to positively affect our lives? Let us address that in the next section.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO POSITIVELY AFFECT OUR QUALITY OF LIFE – 3 INFLUENCES THAT CAN AFFECT (POSITIVELY) A PERSON’S LIFE.
Which, if any, of the following activities do you think are likely to extend your life expectancy? (U.S. 2013) Source: YouGov
Health and Welbeing and the Impact of Different Factors on Risk of Premature Death in America (2018) Source: KFF
58% of Americans according to the above 2013 study believe that making lifestyle changes such as adopting a more active and healthy lifestyle can increase our life expectancy. And in this, they are not wrong. This belief remained consistent even in a later study in 2018 (also depicted above in the next chart), which found the main factor that affected health and wellbeing in Americans was the individual’s behavior and lifestyle. We are solely responsible for how good or bad the quality of our lives turns out to be.
In other to positively affect our quality of life, we need to allow the following positive influences and habits become part and parcel of our lives:
Change your environment.
Your environment will always determine the choices you make whether for the good or the bad, whether for a good quality of life or for the bad. Our environment is made up largely of people. You may need to reevaluate and access some relationships and leave them as part of changing your environment. Hang out with friends that are a positive influence and change your network. And even if your environment is bad and you are forced to stay in it, you should not let it define you. Let us explain this a little. If you cannot move out of a negative environment, cause the environment to adapt to you. You do this by changing your attitude to that environment. Say for example you cannot leave your current job because you don’t have another one on the horizon and therefore need the paycheck. And perhaps your coworkers are making your life unbearable and this is affecting your health in turn.
You have two choices – you can either choose to continue stoking the fire of tension with your coworkers and your boss because of the environment they have created. Or you can decide to change your mindset and approach them differently and go out of your way to actually be nice to your coworkers and help them when you can. By doing so you are effectively determining what your environment will be, rather than letting the environment determine your quality of life.
Change your mindset and attitude.
This is intricately tied to the number 1 factor on the environment explained above, and here’s how. How much of an impact your environment would have on you, is a function of the mindset and attitude you adapt to the environment. The way we approach life and the attitude we choose to take to life generally is another key factor that affects our quality of life. Choosing to adopt a positive attitude and remain positive in difficult times for instance would ensure that we never allow anything to keep us down. This would in turn have a positive impact on our health, positively affect our social interaction with the wider world around us, and in turn, improve our quality of life.
Change your lifestyle choices and behavioral patterns.
To improve our quality of life, we need to make the following changes to our lifestyle choices and behavioral patterns:
Change your eating habits and eat more healthy food for a healthy lifestyle.
If you don’t know where to start in terms of what types of food to eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle, read our linked article. It gives a detailed breakdown of what types of food you can eat.
If you want motivation to exercise, be sure to check out our article on How to Stay Motivated to Exercise. To keep you fired up, you can even involve your family and exercise together with them. Not only does this help your quality of life, but it would also help the quality of life of members of your family – a win-win for everyone.
Spoil yourself more.
Things like pampering yourself every now and again to a spa treatment for example and taking a vacation however small, have been proven to enhance the quality of life. Remember that you have only one life and all work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl. Take yourself out on dates even if you have no one to go out with; this is also very therapeutic.
Read more to stay informed.
Reading has been proven to be good for the brain. By failing to read you dull your brain, and a dull brain reduces the quality of life and life expectancy,
Find and engage your hands with something meaningful and purposeful.
What are your hobbies and interests and how do these help you in becoming a better person in life? If you are a good writer, for example, consider trying things like freelance writing or keeping a blog, or maybe even trying out writing a book. All these would keep you engaged and keep your brain active.
Meaningfully affect other people’s lives.
It is proven that being altruistic and generous to others has a positive impact on our health. You can read our very helpful article on Generosity Activities for Adults for very good ideas on activities you can do to become a more generous person and thus improve your quality of life. You can do something big as donating to a charity, or you could start small by helping your neighbor mow her lawn or walk her dog or help at a home. Whatever the case, there is always someone you can help and by doing so you positively affect and influence their lives, and yours too. And everyone wins.
Build more positive and meaningful friendships and relationships.
And if there aren’t people around you with whom you can form those relationships, you can join a local book club to rub minds with other like-minded people.
By combining all of the above and allowing all these positive influences, you are sure to improve and increase your quality of life. All these are positive influences that can affect a person’s life.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
What factors influence the quality of life and what are the important factors of a good quality of life?
In this article, we have listed the three factors that influence the quality of life. These are environment, attitude, and lifestyle choices. These factors are also important for a good quality of life, as explained in this article.
What are the factors that affect and influence human behavior?
A person’s environment is the biggest factor that affects and influences their behavior. This is closely followed by their attitude and disposition. The attitude is shaped by the environment and vice versa, and both working together ultimately affects and influences human behavior.
How does education affect quality of life?
Education on its own does not affect the quality of life. Education can expose a person to all the opportunities they need to adopt all the influences we have spoken of in this article. But if they choose not to adopt these influences; if they do not make the conscious choice and decision to do what needs to be done, then no matter how educated they are their quality of life will remain low.
Which of the following is an individual factor that can influence attitude change?
The only thing that can influence attitude change is the person whose attitude needs changing. Until they come to the realization and take the decision to change their attitude, nothing will change.
Influences that can affect a person’s life refers to the positive influences that can positively enhance their quality of life.
A person’s environment, their mindset/attitude, and their lifestyle choices and behavioral patterns are the three key factors that can affect their quality of life. Changing any of it in a positive direction would also positively enhance the quality of life.
Taking all the positive steps listed in this article are positive influences that can affect a person’s life for the better, and are sure to improve your quality of life for the better.
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