So, How’s Your Quality of Life?

As a therapist, I frequently talk with my clients about their quality of life. In fact, assisting them in increasing their quality of life is often one of our goals. Now, you may already be asking, that’s a pretty general term so how do you make that an actionable goal. That’s a good question.

Just What Is Quality of Life?

I break down the components of quality of life with each of my clients. We define quality of life based on their vision of their own quality of life. We break down the overall goal of quality of life into realistic and reachable goals and then work on them together.

So, some questions for you to consider: What does quality of life mean to you? And how can you get more quality in your life?


Building More Quality into your Life

Quality of life is actionable! It’s possible to increase the quality of life at your house by paying more attention to the areas of that your life that, for you, are important to achieving quality of life. As a mental health professional, of course I can’t help but to place your emotional wellness at the top of the list of ideas to enhance your quality of life. But I think you might agree with me that your mental health is a big factor in how you experience the day. So here are some ideas for helping your day go better:


Start out the day with gratefulness. Take a moment every morning to think of something you are grateful for. Encourage friends and family members to do the same. Psychological research has shown that being grateful keeps you more open to what’s possible. Gratefulness picks up your mood. Mood, in turn, affects your quality of life.

Accept life on life’s terms. When you accept where you are now in your life – and tell that critical voice to be quiet – you’re on your way to being more compassionate toward yourself. Along with freeing yourself up to start looking at what’s possible! How do you come to this place of acceptance? It starts with the messages you play inside of your head. Acceptance is a big one!

Look for ways to relax. Doing things to promote your own calmness and peace of mind can go a long way toward healing yourself emotionally. Taking a walk, sitting in a quiet place, listening to soft music … choose an activity that helps you to relax and build it into your schedule. Especially when your emotions are threatening to boil over.

Decide to be kinder. Take time to give other people compliments. Make it a point to say thanks for acts of courtesy and kindness in your daily life, no matter how small. Look for reasons to give compliments. And say thank you when someone compliments you. Own it, don’t brush it off. Make giving compliments a part of your daily interactions with people around you, starting at home. Smile more, even if that means smiling first. Kindness is a boomerang, pass it around and sooner or later it comes back in your direction.

Stay focused on the possibilities that each day holds. It’s all too easy to get caught up what’s hard in life. If you need some help, just take a look at the daily news. Sure, we all have some bad days, but here’s something to consider: A disappointment or a setback is a blip on the radar screen of your life. It’s not all of your life. In other words, a bad day doesn’t mean a bad life. And a bad day makes us all that much grateful on the good days.

Love yourself. The road hasn’t been easy. Start by going easier on yourself and not piling on the self-criticism. Give yourself a few words of encouragement. Do things you enjoy, that promote your wellness, that connect you with people you care about. Watch your self-care. Have more balance in your life.

Let go of resentment. Sure, you’ve had some big disappointments along the way. And that’s left a lot of hurt behind. But the past is past, but sitting with all that resentment is keeping you stuck there. Make a conscious effort to give up on changing what’s already happened or getting back at someone who caused you pain. Let’s move on.

Have a vision. What’s possible in your life? I mean, what’s possible when you stop placing all those limitations on yourself? Be realistic but also have a vision for your future: The kind of person you want to be, how you want to be living, who you want to be to the people you value the most. Have a vision for the quality of life you want to work toward.

What does quality of life mean for you? Take time to define it, and then take action.


Gary McClain, PhD, is an educator, therapist, relationship coach, and author in New York City, who specializes in working with individuals diagnosed with chronic and catastrophic medical conditions, their caregivers, and professionals. His book, “The Power of Closure: Why We Need It, How to Get It, and When to Walk Away,” will be published by Tarcher Perigee in the spring of 2024. His website is