What exactly is well-being?

There is no consensus around a single definition of Well-Being but there is a general agreement, it includes being satisfied with life, fulfillment and positive functioning. Well-Being is a complex concept which has been assimilated to Happiness but in fact, there is much more to it. Well-being can be understood by how people feel, how they function, on a personal and social level, and how they evaluate their lives.

There are various domains of Well-Being:

-Physical well-being

-Economic well-being

-Social well-being

-Emotional well-being

-Psychological well-being

Some recent research talks about components of Well-Being. Happiness is only one of them.

Here are some concepts:

  • Being cheerful and feeling Happy
  • Good energy flow and vitality
  • Feeling peaceful and relaxed
  • Being positive and hopeful
  • Being committed and engaged
  • Being in touch with feelings and emotions
  • Accepting oneself
  • Loving oneself
  • Being efficient and feeling competent
  • Desire for improvement, promotion and growth
  • Finding a purpose in life, a cause, a mission
  • Feeling worthy and valuable
  • Being connected with other people

This might help identify what’s missing in our lives and where we can work on self-improvement.

What are the main components for Well-Being?

Good living conditions are fundamental to Well-Being as well as the quality of the relationships, positive emotions, realization of the potential and a general feeling of satisfaction. Environmental and social resources include peace, economic security, a stable ecosystem, and safe housing. Paid employment is critical to the Well-Being of individuals.

It gives access to resources and fosters satisfaction, meaning and purpose. Unemployment affects Well-Being in a negative manner. Good health enables social, economic and personal development, key to well-being.

Experimental studies find that Well-Being is associated with:

– Longevity

– Healthy life styles and behavior

– Social connections

– Supportive relationships (one of the strongest predictors)

– Productivity

People with high levels of Well-Being are more productive at work and are more likely to work better and contribute to their communities. It is also true that a proportion of the variance in Well-Being can be attributed to heritable factors and environmental factors which play important roles as well.

Some personality factors that are strongly associated with Well-Being include optimism, extroversion, and self-esteem. Genetic factors and personality factors can interact in influencing individual Well-Being. 

Can Well-Being be measured?

Because Well-Being is subjective, it can only be measured with self-reports, however there are serious predictors around it.  It seems that men and women have similar levels of Well-Being but this pattern changes with age.

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