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Academic Publication

Inner Peace, Wellbeing, and External Peace in the World

December 16, 2022

Contributors: Tim Lomas, Telli Davoodi


Subjective wellbeing is a multifaceted component that includes low arousal and high arousal psychological and emotional states (Posner et al., 2005; Diener et al., 1999; VanderWheele & Lomas, 2022). The experience of inner peace, perhaps subjectively similar to spiritual wellbeing (see VanderWeele, 2020) is a form of low arousal state that can meaningfully contribute to an individual’s overall subjective wellbeing. In this study, we leverage global data from the Gallup World Poll in partnership with the Global Wellbeing Initiative to gain insight into the subjective experience of mental peace. Specifically, we asked how mental peace relates to overall subjective wellbeing and how experiences with external factors, such as peace at the country-level, individual feelings of safety and security, and emotional experiences, relate to the experience of mental peace across the globe. We found that experiencing mental peace more frequently is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction. This suggests that understanding the circumstances and experiences that can contribute to mental peace can have important implications for wellbeing research. We found that negative emotional experiences are negatively associated with mental peace, and that experiencing threats to safety and security (e.g., having been assaulted) is negatively related to mental peace. Surprisingly, when controlling for these individual-level experiences, an indicator of external peace (e.g., measure of militarization, ongoing conflict, etc.) at the country-level is negatively associated with mental peace when the data is aggregated across all countries on the World Poll in 2021.


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