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Shielding Your Well-being While Surrounded by Strife and Struggle


Well-being is essential to creating social harmony. With all that’s happening in the world around us today, it seems well-being is under assault. So, learning strategies for shielding your well-being is vital.

In fact, I was reflecting on the state of the world as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day approached. I wondered what Dr. King might have made of all the strife in our modern-day society. And I found a quote of his that beautifully answered what I was wondering:

“The world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around… but I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.”

He said those words in 1969 and I’m writing these words in 2024. His mission to dismantle racism, end poverty, and stop wars has still not been achieved. And the wide-ranging effects of these social injustices continue to threaten our well-being as a global society.

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    Why well-being matters

    Real threats to our well-being are all around us. It's essential to know how to take care of ourselves. Shielding your well-being is one way. But what does well-being really mean and why does it matter?

    Here are some key points that highlight both what it means and why it matters:

    • Quality of life - When we experience a sense of satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment, our overall life satisfaction improves.
    • Resilience - People with strong well-being tend to be more resilient in the face of adversity. They cope better with stress, setbacks, and challenges, bouncing back from difficulties more effectively.
    • Positive relationships - Well-being is closely tied to positive social connections. Healthy relationships contribute to emotional support, companionship, and a sense of belonging.
    • Mental and emotional stability - Maintaining good well-being is crucial for mental and emotional stability. It helps prevent or manage conditions such as anxiety and depression, promoting a more positive mindset.
    • Social contribution - People with a high level of well-being often engage in pro-social behaviors and contribute positively to their communities. This can create a ripple effect, fostering a more supportive and thriving society.
    • Personal growth and development - Well-being provides a foundation for personal growth. It allows us to pursue our goals, explore our potential, and continuously evolve as individuals.

    Ensuring your own well-being is first. Then, as a youth worker, ensuring the well-being of young people is how we create real change.

    Think about the global impact of well-being. The well-being of individuals collectively contributes to the well-being of communities, nations, and our global society.

    A world with thriving, fulfilled individuals is more likely to achieve what Dr. King dared to dream. Equity, opportunity, and peace for all.

    Shielding your well-being with positivity

    Remember how my Dr. King quote ended? He said “I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.”

    That he was able to hold onto hope and move forward with unfailing optimism through all the trouble he saw is a powerful inspiration to me.

    Now, I’m choosing to use that inspiration as a guide. And you can too. Just as a GPS in your car helps you get to where you need to go, you can be your own GPS to get through the strife and struggle of the world.

    Generosity – Give the gifts of your time, your talent, your energy, your humor, your love, your empathy and compassion, your wisdom and understanding. Giving to benefit others makes you and them feel great!

    Positivity – Name what you are grateful for every day. Use positive affirmations to help you keep perspective. When faced with a challenge, add "yet" to your thoughts. For example, if you find math difficult, say "I don't understand it yet." It’s a positive reminder of your ability to learn and grow.

    Service - Serving others is a powerful way to enhance well-being by fostering a sense of purpose, connection, happiness, and mental health. It creates a positive feedback loop where you not only contribute to the well-being of others but also experience personal benefits in the process.

    Be your own GPS to find your way through the darkness to the stars. Then be those stars for yourself and for young people. Model these practices and teach them about shielding their well-being too.

    About the author

    Barbara Van Deinse is the operations director of the Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA), a non-profit association of youth-serving organizations. We're your source for exceptional, affordable, personal and professional online learning via The Professional Youth Worker.  Join us!

    To ask Barbara a question or share your feedback about this blog, email

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