Does greater well-being appeal to you?
Compelling reasons to boost your well-being
A group of social scientists wrote an article that urged their academic colleagues to direct more research to study and promote well-being. Social science research tends to focus on problems, such as mental illness, and gives much less attention to well-being. The scientists lamented the bias of social science research towards solving rather than preventing mental health problems. You might think that improving mental health would automatically improve well-being. Studies show, however, that well-being is a distinct concept that’s not the opposite of poor mental health. The article features seven reasons to invest more money in well-being research and promotion. But those seven reasons apply equally to why you would do well to increase your personal well-being.
Reason 1: Well-being is a natural motivator. People are naturally motivated to act in ways that improve their well-being; they strive for happiness and success. Plus, people who seek happiness in one way can experience complementary benefits in other ways, thus creating a positive upward spiral.
Reason 2: Well-being improves physical health and longevity. Longitudinal studies show that positive mood, greater meaning in life, and greater life satisfaction all predict improved health and greater longevity. Increased social connections arising from greater well-being might create these benefits.
Reason 3: Well-being is good for the economy. Experiencing positive emotions is associated with greater creativity, better organizational citizenship behavior, and less job conflict. Plus, greater well-being predicts better educational performance and presumably better subsequent economic prospects.
Reason 4: Well-being promotes positive relationships. Happier people have more satisfying relationships and have more positive and stable marriages. Greater well-being predicts more prosocial behavior. Parents with greater well-being tend to use more positive and supportive parenting strategies.
Reason 5: Well-being can be enhanced in relatively easy and inexpensive ways. Positive psychology interventions produce small but consistent improvements in well-being on an individual level at minimal or moderate cost.
Reason 6: Improving well-being may catalyze the success of other interventions. For example, increasing employees’ well-being might reduce employee burnout and reduce costs association with employee turnover.
Reason 7: Well-being interventions may elicit a population-level shift in mental health. Well-being can increase on a systems basis by supplementing existing programs, such as those dealing with workplace productivity, with well-being interventions. Improving well-being has the potential to provide huge benefits at modest cost on a population-wide basis.
How can you improve your well-being? Many avenues exist. How about embracing one of the nine healthy lifestyle choices championed in Chose Better, Live Better – Nine Healthy Choices that Nurture body, Mind, and Spirit?