People at Work

What does wellbeing mean to you?

By Fiona Bugler • 3rd May 2020

The UN has set out a series of goals to help make the world a better place. Goal three is about promoting well-being for all ages. What does it mean to you — and in your world?

The dictionary definition of wellbeing is ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’.

What does it mean for you?

For me the dictionary does it — the question is what makes us feel comfortable, healthy and happy — and of course, it’s different for everyone.

Wikipedia elaborates on the dictionary with this: ‘A high level of well-being means that in some sense the individual’s or group’s condition is positive.’

Yes, if I feel comfortable, healthy and happy — it’s positive.

Psychology Today says: ‘Well-being is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity.’ Prosperity, yes, it’s a bottom line, people need to feel prosperous — or at least comfortable. Will our new reality shake this — and how will our prosperity, and well-being be tested?

Psychology Today continues, ‘It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and ability to manage stress.’

In business ‘purpose’ has hit the well-being headlines in recent years. When employees don’t feel like their work has meaning, they’re less motivated to do it. That means decreased productivity and engagement. This quote from April Wensel sums this up:

“It’s not hard work that burns people out, but rather the feeling that their work doesn’t matter.”

The Mayo Clinic highlights the significance of the impact stress has on health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Managing stress can include simple techniques such as mindfulness, which meditation app Headspace research has proven to be effective and improve well-being.

The American Center for Disease Control (CDC), go further describing well-being as an outcome: ‘Well-being is a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and many sectors of society because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well. Good living conditions (e.g., housing, employment) are fundamental to well-being. Tracking these conditions is important for public policy.

But they point out there’s more to well-being than our environment. ‘Many indicators that measure living conditions fail to measure what people think and feel about their lives, such as the quality of their relationships, their positive emotions and resilience, the realisation of their potential, or their overall satisfaction with life — i.e., their “wellbeing.”

‘Wellbeing generally includes global judgments of life satisfaction and feelings ranging from depression to joy.’


Fiona Bugler

This article was written by our team of in-house writers. We're always interested to hear from wellbeing professionals and business leaders. If you'd like to write for the zone, follow this link.

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