Over the last decade, experts from multiple disciplines, including medical, social and psychological sciences have shifted their focus from wellness to well-being. What is well-being? And why is it important?

This article is an introduction on the topic of Well-Being and it explores the benefits of individual well-being and outlines the steps to improve the quality of your personal well-being. Future articles will discuss how you can improve the quality of your own well-being along with the benefits and action steps associated with organizational well-being.

Everywhere you look these days, you see magazine articles, research studies, television specials, on the importance of well-being. But what is well-being anyway? Well-being is a measurement that’s based on the quality of our current life and how we view what’s possible for us in the future. In simple terms, it’s about positive emotions, engagement, fulfillment, health, and resilience. While there’s no unanimous definition of the specific components that make up well-being, there is general agreement across disciplines about the core elements: psychological, physical, and social.

  • The psychological dimensions include meaningful work, positive emotions, and self-respect.
  • The physical dimensions include health, finances, and vitality.
  • The social dimensions include engagement in the community, feeling loved and accepted, and helping others.

Well-being is not just about happiness, or just about health, or job satisfaction. It’s broader than any one single element. It’s a multi-dimensional view of how well we are doing in all aspects of our lives – our work life, personal life, family life and community life.

Benefits of Well-Being

Governments, healthcare groups, psychologists, and organizations have all taken to measuring well-being and providing guidance on how to improve the quality of life for their citizens, patients, clients and employees. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index that uses a scale of 0 – 10, people who rate their current life a 7 or higher and their future life an 8 or higher are “thriving.” Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, states that people begin to “flourish” when they bring positive emotions, engagement, and meaning into their daily lives. And people who are thriving and flourishing are better off in all the ways that make life worthwhile:

  • They are healthier, happier, and have more vitality.
  • They are more optimistic, engaged, and resilient in the midst of stress and challenge.
  • They experience a greater sense of meaning, fulfillment, and personal accomplishment
  • They build positive relationships, feel connected to others and are involved in their communities.
  • They feel more secure in their careers and finance.