Happiness vs Wellbeing


In a recent article on The Conversation magazine, Christian van Nieuwerburgh (a Professor of Coaching and Positive Psychology, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences) and Jolanta Burke (a Senior Lecturer, Centre for Positive Psychology and Health, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences) write that pursuit of wellbeing is more fulfilling than seeking happiness. They argue that the pursuit of happiness can be bad for us.

Happiness can make us more self-centred. The active pursuit of happiness can exacerbate individualistic tendencies to seek out pleasures at the expense of others, society (driving fast may make you happy, but it endangers people’s lives) or the environment (keeping the air-conditioning on overnight).

Boost your wellbeing instead. If we focus too narrowly on the pursuit of happiness, we are at risk of forgetting about wellbeing, which runs deeper than simple hedonism and includes connections with people, life purpose, a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.

Five Ways to Boost Wellbeing

  1. Ensure that you can meet the basic needs of yourself and those you care for.
  2. Allocate regular time for pleasurable activities, such as a walk, playing a game or watching or listening to something you enjoy.
  3. Invest in building and maintaining positive relationships. Meet with friends, keep in contact with family members, nurture your work relationships.
  4. Stay connected with what makes your life meaningful. For example, supporting a movement, following a faith or committing fully to your personal or professional role.
  5. Make things better for your community by, say, advocating for better services, volunteering in your community, or challenging unfair practices.

Source: The Conversation