How do you define happiness?
"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, and hell of heaven."
– John Milton, English poet
We all want to be happy in our lives, and we all want to experience "well-being."
However, people often disagree about what well-being involves. Some say that you need to live an honest, positive life. Others believe that you achieve it by doing rewarding, challenging, or enjoyable work. Still others equate it with living according to your core values, while also focusing on your spiritual and emotional development.
The point is that well-being is subjective – we all have different ideas about what it means to live a fulfilling life. There is no one "correct" path to achieving a state of well-being. (Although there may be many incorrect paths!)
In this article, we'll examine the concept of "subjective well-being." We'll discuss what it means, why it's important, and how you can use the ideas behind it to experience well-being in your own life.
With the Mind Tools Club, you get much, much more than you do here for free.
And we'll give you the 4 workbooks above when you join!
Learn on the move with the free Mind Tools iPhone, iPad and Android Apps. Short bursts of business training ideal for busy people.
Stutzer, A. and Frey, B.S. (2010) 'Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being,' Social Research Magazine, 22 June 2010. (Available here.)
Plagnol, A.C. and Scott, J. (2009) 'What Matters for Well-Being: Individual Perceptions of Quality of Life Before and After Important Life Events,' Applied Research in Quality of Life, Vol. 6, No. 2. (Available here.)
Diener, E. (2009) Frequently Asked Questions About Subjective Well-Being, University of Illinois, [Online] Available here. [Accessed: 28 February, 2012.]
Diener, E. and Chan, M.Y. (2011) 'Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity,' Journal of Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, Vol. 3, Issue 1, March 2011.