Over 2000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle said that wellbeing rests with our virtues. It emerges when we’re in touch with qualities like courage, wisdom and the search for greater understanding.
Earlier, the Chinese philosopher Confucius wrote that lasting joy and fulfillment come to those who connect to something beyond themselves — things like mother nature, our fellow neighbor and the concerns that affect humankind.
Although the importance of wellbeing has long been recognized, science is only now catching up, and these great thinkers make one thing clear…
Wellbeing is not about being in a continual state of bliss.
A happy person feels mildly positive most of the time. They still feel sadness or anxiety during life’s normal ups and downs.
Studies of wellbeing are on the rise. There are at least 60 published tests measuring subjective wellbeing and many more on happiness and quality of life.
Greater wellbeing is a cross-disciplinary mission. Psychologists, neuroscientists, sociologists, and even economists are joining the cause.
Recent large-scale studies have linked wellbeing to greater health and happiness.
A 2012 study of more than 11,000 men and women over 50 explored the relationship between life enjoyment and lifespan. It found that the 25% of participants who reported enjoying life the most were 28% less likely to die young.
The findings are clear. When you enjoy life, you live longer.
Mindfulness is a science-backed practice shown to improve areas of the brain that support healthy thinking and emotional processing.
Better wellbeing is associated with systems of the body that support health and fight disease. It also aids our resilience and makes living a healthy lifestyle easier.
Positivity helps reduce inflammation and diseases of the nervous system. It also supports a healthy heart and functioning of blood vessels.
A positive mood can speed up recovery from injury and illness while reducing risk of viral infection, stroke and heart disease.
Better wellbeing is associated with improved mental and psychological health
A strong sense of wellbeing can support the lifespan just as much as avoiding cigarettes.
Higher wellbeing supports our lifestyle goals, like beating smoking, losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet.
Happier people live longer. A global 2015 study of the elderly found that those with higher wellbeing were 300% more likely to be alive 8.5 years later.
Better wellbeing helps us integrate information and broaden our focus of attention more easily. This can improve our decision making, leading to personal and social benefits.
Happiness can benefit the workplace in many ways: