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Balancing the work-life balance: A cognitive approach to subjective well-being


Today, our jobs have become less secure as a lifelong career and more reliant on technology where knowledge is shared real-time irrespective of the location or time. Although employees now have more flexibility over how they work, they constantly must manage the challenges of balancing three key areas: their mental and physical well-being; their family members well-being; and their work performance and relationships. This paper focuses on work-life balance (WLB), and how this can be sustained overtime. We assert that by using the theorisation of psychological distance in Construal Level Theory (CLT) and Hedonic Adaptation theory, it is possible to get a deeper understanding as to how temporal, emotional and behavioural demands are constructed and the effect of cognitive biases in shaping our perceived situational awareness. We use a novel approach to conceptualise that it is possible to achieve cognitive reframing and perceive the natural state of the situation to sustain WLB and baseline happiness. We assert that cognitive reframing could lead to maintaining an overall sense of harmony in life by improving the subjective well-being without overdependence of material well-being.

Keywords: Work-life balance, mindfulness, construal level theory, well-being, psychological distance, hedonic adaptation.