Why measure personal wellbeing?

Feedback from our Evergreen Life community shows that wellbeing is almost as important to people as their overall health.

What do we mean by wellbeing?

Wellbeing is not clearly defined and means different things to different people. In our Evergreen Life community survey, people told us the most important elements of wellbeing were “feeling healthy” (88%), “feeling happy” (76%) and “feeling fit” (60%).

Wellbeing can be described as judging life positively and feeling good. Wellbeing focuses on strengths: positive emotions, resilience, mastery and autonomy. It’s usually measured with questionnaires and often looks at these 3 key features;

  • Frequent pleasurable feelings
  • Infrequent painful feelings
  • A sense that life is good

The first steps to a better sense of wellbeing can begin with something as simple as actually noticing the connection between what you’re doing or thinking and how it makes you feel. You may get a sense of contentment when you see a bird in your garden. Or your anxiety may increase when you speak to a certain person.  Noticing these connections is a great place to start your wellbeing journey.

Why is wellbeing important?

There is a lot of overlap between wellbeing and health.

Good wellbeing can predict good health and a longer life. It’s linked with improved pain tolerance, cardiovascular health, slower disease progression and better reproductive health. It might even be good for the immune system.

Importantly, research suggests that wellbeing may be changed or modified by our own intentional activities.

Why bother to measure wellbeing?

Look at it this way. When you start a new diet, it’s a good idea to first weigh yourself and measure abdominal fat, to see how things change when you make adjustments to what you eat. It's the same for wellbeing. If you want to try to improve your wellbeing, it's a good idea to measure it first so you can see  what effect any steps you take have on how you feel.

We have chosen two different ways of measuring wellbeing and both appear in the happiness section of your app.

These are your Sense of Wellbeing and Subjective Happiness checks.

Sense of Wellbeing Check

This measures personal - subjective wellbeing and includes 4 questions that are used in national surveys. Each question covers 4 key areas of your wellbeing - 3 positives: happiness, life satisfaction, the sense that the things you do in life are worthwhile, and one negative aspect: anxiety.  It's a very well known and used questionnaire, so it’s a good way of comparing and sharing our community findings.

Subjective Happiness Check

The Subjective Happiness Check is a way to understand more about your happiness.  It's based on the Subjective Happiness Scale developed by Prof. Lyubomirsky and measures whether you see yourself as a happy or a sad person. 

According to Prof. Lyubomirsky, happiness can be changed and it is possible to become happier by changing the things we do. After you’ve taken this check we introduce some tips to try.

Next steps

We suggest you take both questionnaires to better understand how you’re currently feeling - your own personal barometer. It’s a starting point from which to notice the effects of any changes you might try: for example, some of the tips we suggest on completion of your Subjective Happiness Check.

Repeat and feedback

Repeat your checks (typically after 4 weeks) to recalculate your overall wellness score.

Did your score improve or did you feel any differently?  It's also a way to give feedback.  The Evergreen Life community is made up of similarly focused people, so feeding back helps yourself and others learn what works well, in this case to improve wellbeing. After pooling our information, we’ll report back our findings.   

The take-away

It is possible to successfully change our sense of wellbeing and happiness but it's not always easy and like any new pursuit, takes a will and some practice.

Of course, there are medical, physical, and spiritual reasons why we might have a lower sense of wellbeing  and those things are very important. For example, mental health conditions, poor diet, toxins, pathogens, physical and psychological trauma, and social isolation. Without addressing these things your ability to feel better will be limited.

It’s important to point out that this article is not about mental health, nor is it a substitute for professional care and support for people dealing with a mental health condition. If you have any concerns about your mental health you should make an appointment to discuss these concerns with your GP.

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