Topics such as life-satisfaction and well-being are commonly considered in positive psychology and increasingly more in the mental health field. Measures of well-being offer the chance to uncover whether people are getting their overall needs met, and provide an overall sense of how happy, healthy, and prosperous someone is.

Though, well-being is much more multidimensional than simply being just happy, healthy, or successful.

Well-being is a concept that encompasses a well-rounded, balanced, and comprehensive experience of life. It includes health in social, physical, mental, emotional, career, and spiritual domains. When things aren’t going right in all of these areas we probably aren’t experiencing as much joy, serenity, and … as we could be, and may be experiencing greater stress, worry, and anxiety.

There are also different theories of well-being, which includes subjective well-being, or how much positive and negative affect we experience, as well as our level of life-satisfaction. This relates to if we’re happy in our current situation and at a place we want to be.

There is also psychological well-being, which is a more sustainable practice and character driven view of well-being.

Here are a few areas to focus on to increase psychological well-being.

Self-acceptance – A major source of well-being and living a happy life is self-acceptance, or the attitude we hold about ourselves. This relates to feeling satisfied with who you are, making peace with the past, and contentment with your current situation. Acceptance is about coming to terms with what we can’t change or control.

Self-growth – Growing as a person and expanding your knowledge is a never ending process. We can grow as people every day if we’re willing to be open to new experiences and seek out our potential. Self-growth is about taking a curious and interested view of life and seeking out opportunities to expand as a person.

Purpose and meaning – There is a real sense of aliveness when we have direction and something to strive for. Purpose and meaning can come from using your natural strengths and talents, developing intimate relationships, and growing spiritually. Consider if your goals and intentions offer a sense of something greater than yourself.

Autonomy – Do you remember the first time you felt independent and free? Maybe it was your first time driving, going to college, or having a family of your own.  It feels great to know we’re able take care of life and have some control of our destiny. Autonomy is the sense that we are a distinct, unique person with our own identity, values, and purpose, and a sense that we can think and act for ourselves.

Connectedness – There is nothing more important than having caring, trusting, and loving relationships in life. My heart really does go out to anyone who doesn’t have close friends or family. Unless you’re a hermit, you need to feel connected, accepted, and have the opportunity to love and progress with the aid and support of others.

Mastery – We need to have mastery over our environment and learn how to adapt and modify our circumstances to have healthy development. This comes from having the skills and competence necessary to progress and achieve what we need, as well as having the confidence and belief in our abilities. Mastery provides a sense of pride and success, and is a catalyst for further motivation.

Well-being is when we are at a place in life where everything has come together and we’re proud and comfortable with what has, is, and will take place. Understanding and incorporating the above ideas can bring greater wisdom, self-awareness, and psychological well-being.

Photo credit: Ana Patrícia Almeida