When we think of the term “wellbeing”, concepts such as work-life balance, happiness, friendship, health and wellness come into our mind. After all, isn’t that what life is about? Striving and succeeding in all those areas and more?
When we talk about well-being, my mind immediately goes to defining what well-being means. However, instead of gaining clarity on what well-being means, I became frustrated and demoralised, trying to understand all that well-being encompasses.
I came across many definitions of the term “well-being”. I decided the challenge wasn’t about finding what well-being means but instead looking at the words and definitions people were using to explain well-being.
What is Wellbeing?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) doesn’t actually define wellbeing. Instead, it uses the term as a keyword to describe it: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Google tells me that the Oxford English Dictionary defines well-being as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy”. And when you do a google search, you come across digital well-being, physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, student wellbeing, workplace wellbeing, health wellbeing… the list goes on.
Psychology Today defines well-being as:
“the existence of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and ability to manage stress. More generally, well-being is just feeling well.”
Should I be looking for how to “feel well”?
But it’s the UK governments definition of wellbeing that I like the most…
“[it’s] about feeling good and functioning well and comprises an individual’s experience of their life; and a comparison of life circumstances with social norms and values.”
We are all so different, and each of us interprets the world in different ways, coming to different conclusions that your feeling of well-being will be different to my feeling of well-being.