So far, no one can agree on all of the aspects that human beings need in order to reach a state of complete satisfaction.
What’s the relationship between quality of life, happiness, and having material possessions? It’s not an easy question to answer because it depends on people’s life plans. We tell you about the types of wellbeing.
Wellbeing is the state of happiness and fulfillment that human beings reach, which is related to a number of factors.
It depends on how people perceive themselves, their environment, and the social relationships they establish, including physiological, philosophical, economic, clinical, and social aspects.
The World Health Organization defines the concept of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations has it as the third Sustainable Development Goal: “Good Health and Wellbeing”.
This describes certain priorities such as increasing life expectancy, reducing some common causes of death associated with infant and maternal mortality, and eradicating diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
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Both organizations associate wellbeing with people’s physical or somatic health and access to healthcare. However, that’s not all.
Psychologist María Isabel Barrera Villalpando says that we are biopsychosocial, cultural, and spiritual beings.
This means that we are configured according to certain biological characteristics, influenced by psychological aspects, and interact with a social environment, while permeated by specific culture and spirituality that connects us to ourselves, which may or may not be religious.
The specialist, who is attached to the External Consultation Service of the Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz National Institute of Psychiatry, divides the concept into two headings:
This is an evaluation of someone’s physical health through a clinical examination to measure glucose, cholesterol, and lipid levels, followed by a general examination in which a doctor determines whether someone is in good health.
This area includes aspects such as adequate nutrition, sleep, and exercise.
“It involves carrying out routine check-ups, taking into account that health is not only the absence of diseases but a state of full harmony, which helps you to face challenges and make the best decisions.”
Subjective wellbeing has to do with the perception people have of how they function physically, biologically, culturally, socially, and spiritually.
In her doctoral thesis, Barrera Villalpando worked on certain aspects of pain by using the Subjective Wellbeing Scale from authors Anguas-Plata and Reyes-Lagunes at the Faculty of Psychology of the UNAM, which considers four aspects: the survival of the species, safety throughout the process of human development, material prosperity, and intellectual progress.
That’s where the emotional part comes in, which relates to self-perception. Here, individuals reflect upon how satisfied they are with their lives, what they lack or have too much of.
This simple exercise of seeing achievements in the past, present, and future gives you a philosophy on life.
The caring part consists of identifying the social support that people have. It’s not enough to be accompanied but about the quality and support they have.
“Within psychology and psychiatry, there are scales that measure mental health. We constantly go to inventories of aspects of illness such as anxiety, depressive symptoms, and hopelessness, measuring aspects such as some of the mental disorders that we see most frequently.”
The specialist says that a good balance would be if objective perception matches subjective perception.
Ideally, how others see me and how I feel should be the same.
Luis Ángel Soto Mendoza, who holds a master’s degree in organizational psychology from the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos, adds other factors to this classification:
Humans have survived because of our ability to work as teams, to relate to each other, and to share experiences with other people.
This is heavily influenced by the cultural aspect since some societies are more gregarious than others.
“In Mexico, families tend to stick together, so life revolves around our relatives, who are the main source of support and company. In other countries, young people leave home at the age of 18 and go it alone, living with their partners or on their own and they’re fine.”
Here, many rites and customs revolve around the family: social gatherings, weddings, quinceañera celebrations, baptisms, and graduations. These are festivities that can become extremely absorbing, but they are also not for everyone: some people are happy with a small circle of friends or with their partner and they aren’t bothered about participating in big events or about living together all the time.
This includes a series of parameters such as the amount of goods and services that the average citizen produces in a given territory.
The specialist says that relying on this assessment can become very frustrating, and more so in the context of the pandemic during which many people have seen their incomes reduced.
“Having ambitions is good, wanting to get ahead is too, but you have to see the current situation and establish appropriate priorities such as personal growth, continuous learning, work goals, and preparation.”
He adds that it’s very common to be disappointed by not achieving objectives, so it’s important to achieve small things: starting to talk, giving our opinion, visualizing situations, and verbalizing problems.