Life isn’t just about money. It’s also about your happiness, relationships, meaning and purpose in life, community connections and so much more. This understanding of life is called wellbeing – and medical research shows it can be important for your health.
Wellbeing is made up of many different factors, which can be divided into two categories:
- material conditions, such as money, housing, education
- quality of life, such as social connections, work-life balance, subjective wellbeing.
All of these factors interconnect and influence each other. More money can help your health if you’re poor, for example, but rich people can be unhappy due to poor relationships.
Wellbeing is often also called happiness. However it’s different to that short-term happy feeling you get, such as when you eat an ice cream on a hot day. Rather, it’s a long-term mood of happiness and contentment.
Medical research has found that wellbeing is linked with good health, such as a reduced risk of infection and quicker recovery from illness. In fact, the association is so positive that wellbeing may be just as protective as not smoking for how long you live.
It’s still not clear why wellbeing may help. Possible causes include producing less stress hormones and being more likely to live a healthy lifestyle such as doing exercise and eating a healthy diet.
Wellbeing, however, doesn’t mean feeling happy all the time. The above health benefits appear to be associated with feeling mildly to moderately positive most of the time, with occasional negative emotions in appropriate situations.
So if you’re experiencing low levels of wellbeing, the aim would be to pay attention to the important things in your life; for example, your relationships, community connections, work-life balance and more.
For more information: Speak to your GP, Visit www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm