Wellbeing.

This is an actual exchange of messages in WhatsApp between a dear friend who has got a full head of hair but, who thinks that I enjoy life despite being blessed with just a friar’s fringe. Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

That exchange got me to suggest this topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post when Shackman and I write posts on the same topic. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say about the topic.

“Well-being amounts to more than mere happiness, and involves a wide range of personal and social domains, new research suggests. Psychologists say that positive relationships and a sense of meaning and purpose in life are crucial to genuine well-being.”

~ British Psychological Society (BPS)

Whenever someone asks me if I am happy in my present status of a retired person, I inevitably request him to ask about my wellbeing rather than whether I am happy as happiness is only a small part of wellbeing. I inevitably add that I am flourishing or, that I am on top of the world or some such phrase. I came to the conclusion that I was more than just happy in my situation after I read Martin Seligman’s “Flourish”, which incidentally was gifted to me by a very dear friend who was closely monitoring my mental health when I was going through a particularly stressful period some years ago. Reading the book essentially pointed out to me that my stress was of a passing nature which was being handled well by me. Other than that particular aspect of my life then, my life otherwise was what could be easily called enviable by others.

Seligman’s PERMA is simply this.

Here then is well-being theory: well-being is a construct; and well-being, not happiness, is the topic of positive psychology. Well-being has five measurable elements (PERMA) that count toward it:

Positive emotion (Of which happiness and life satisfaction are all aspects) – what we feel: pleasure, rapture, ecstasy, warmth, comfort, and the like. An entire life led successfully around this element, I call the “pleasant life.”

Engagement – is about flow: being one with the music, time stopping, and the loss of self-consciousness during an absorbing activity. I refer to a life lived with these aims as the “engaged life.”

Relationships – is about how well we are connected with our family, friends and society.

Meaning and purpose – Meaningful Life consists in belonging to and serving something that you believe is bigger than the self, and humanity creates all the positive institutions to allow this: religion, political party, being Green, the Boy Scouts, or the family.

Accomplishment – is the way of reflecting on the attempts of doing something, and the degree in which it provides a positive sense of accomplishment or achievement.

No one element defines well-being, but each contributes to it.

I believe that I am a walking proof for someone who is flourishing as, in all the five elements, I will score high.

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13 Responses to Wellbeing.

  1. Wisewebwoman says:

    I concur, though I would add a few more elements as we are currently putting together an activist group for elders who are affected by poverty. A hidden poverty and no one complains as they don’t have the energy, they need it all just to get out of bed.
    The research has slayed us completely. We are hoping to have the press conference this month. Any insight you could give would be greatly appreciated.

    XO
    WWW

    • Unfortunately, I have had no first hand experience with such elders and the only insights that I may be able to offer will be second hand from what I read in our media. We do not have the kind of safety nets that Canada provides for its citizens and so the stories here are vastly different and can be heart breaking for the cruelty one comes across.

  2. shackman says:

    We definitely are not on the same page on this – I see well-being as new age nonsense. Maybe millennials need it but I will pass – reinventing the wheel for just doing what you like. I racked my brain for 3 days and still drew a blank.
    shackman recently posted..Wellbeing

  3. I’m currently “caught between” issues…I’m trying to deal with them without help, but I may need to…time will tell.
    Catherine de Seton recently posted..New Series: “Repair”

  4. nick says:

    It seems to me that well-being is just a fashionable term for mental and physical good health. Which covers all the different elements you refer to. Positive emotion is very important. If you go around whingeing and moaning it won’t do you any good at all. Meaning and purpose is vital too. Once you start thinking your life is meaningless, you’re in trouble.

  5. Big John says:

    “The British Psychological Society” and “new research” .. Oh, dear !.. I tend to go along with ‘shackman’, to some degree, on this one, when I remember that Oscar Wilde once said … “Life is too important to be taken seriously”.
    Big John recently posted..It’s PC “Poldark” !

  6. Max Coutinho says:

    Hello Rummy,

    I consider myself a happy person because I accept life as it comes. I accept the good and the less good (or bad, if you will, depending on the perspective) as instruments for growth. What I am today is the result of all the things that happened to me over the years: extreme joy, sadness, laughter, tears, pain, pleasure, knowledge, ignorance, health, disease etc. All the vicissitudes and its opposite served to mould my character, so I feel blessed for all of it.

    I think you have a similar approach to life and that is why you have both well-being and happiness :). I think both are about acceptance and mainly about a true connection to Higher Powers, which I call G-d and His Hosts.

    Cheers
    Max Coutinho recently posted..The Squad: Racist, Environmental, Anti-Sovereignty and Racial

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