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How Can We Develop a More Global Vision of Wellbeing? (Psychology Today)

May 28, 2020

New research seeks a more inclusive understanding of wellbeing.

By Tim Lomas Ph.D.

Seeking Wellbeing

It is a truism that wellbeing matters to everyone. After all, who among us does not want to be and feel well (however we define these goals)? Indeed, wellbeing has become an increasingly prominent topic of study across diverse fields of scholarship and practice, from psychology to economics. If anything, it has become even more salient in recent months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the urgency of understanding and caring for our mental and physical health.

But what do we mean by wellbeing? Despite nearly a century of scientific research on the topic, and millennia of philosophising before that, there is no universally accepted model, theory, or definition of this key term.

That said, there are some prominent and influential ideas. For instance, much of the research in this area focuses on “subjective wellbeing” (SWB), which broadly pertains to feeling good1. This is generally theorised as comprising two dimensions: cognitive (feeling good about life) and affective (feeling good in life). The former is captured by constructs such as “life satisfaction,” which reflects a person’s assessment of their life in general (i.e., all elements together, over a reasonable span of time). By contrast, the latter concerns how people feel emotionally right now (or relatively recently) and is usually conceptualised in terms of a ratio of positive to negative affect.

Read full article on Psychology Today.

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