The philosophical point is that our happiness and wellbeing is not based on incomes rising. This is not just the wisdom of sages but of ordinary people. Prosperity is more social and psychological: it’s about identification, affiliation, participation in society and a sense of purpose.
– Tim Jackson

What is well-being

Well-being is a state in which we feel a positive quality of life experience. Well-being is the state of being healthy, safe, and happy.*

The study of well-being aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.

But what is well-being? For the sake of explanation well-being can be classified into four aspects:

  • physical well-being
  • mental well-being
  • inner well-being
  • social well-being

It is important to remember that these four areas are not separate but deeply connected.

Physical well-being

Physical well-being is about being in good health. If our physical well-being improves, we will automatically experience greater mental and emotional improvement. Regular exercise strengthens our muscles, heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins and other powerful chemicals that energise our mind and provide satisfaction. On the other hand, illness and chronic diseases reduce the sense of well-being.

Exposure to pharmaceutical and toxic chemicals, diet, stress, exercise, and other environmental factors are also capable of eliciting positive or negative feelings. Read more about Physical Well-being»

Mental well-being

Mental well-being describes a mental state where we have feelings of satisfaction, contentment, confidence and engagement with the world. Our mental wellbeing can change from time to time, day to day, month to month or year to year. General mental well-being helps people cope better with the normal up and downs and stresses in life. Read more about Mental Well-being»

Inner well-being

Inner well-being is harmony between our inner life and the outer world. It is having inner peace. It is the feeling of belonging or connectedness with the world. It is about realising a meaning in life. It is the feeling that we are part of something larger than the issues, stresses, and challenges of life. Showing kindness, trust, forgiveness, compassion and empathy have a role in providing inner wellbeing. Read more about Inner Well-being»

Social well-being

Social well-being is the state of positive relationships with people. We are social creatures who are interdependent. Social wellbeing describes our social stability and social peace. Income equality, social capital, social trust, social connectedness and social networks are primary needs for social wellbeing. Moral standard, child development, freedom, response to change are the important features of social wellbeing.

Our economic position and job satisfaction play a role in social well-being but there is a large body of evidence from research which shows that individual increases in income, once past a threshold at which basic needs are satisfied, produce diminishing returns in average levels of wellbeing. Read more about Social Well-being»

* Note:
Unfortunately in many parts of the world well-being is affected by circumstances out of people’s control. Wars, famines, epidemics, crime, poverty and discrimination can all have terrible effects on people’s well-being. This article is not intended to address these people or these problems rather it addresses those people in good circumstances who still don’t have well-being.

What is well-being