What is it about?

In talking about human well-being, there are various labels commonly used such as 'happiness', 'subjective well-being', and 'eudaimonic well-being'. What do these mean and what are the fundamental elements of well-being? Here we argue that well-being is about both 'doing well' and 'feeling well', and make a distinction between three types of well-being: Doing well is about activities, values, goals, and practices that produce well-being. Need satisfaction is about having certain innate psychological needs satisfied in one's life, in particular needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Subjective well-being is about general feelings and evaluations of life as good or bad, positive or negative. In talking about well-being, rather than mix everything together, we should look at these three types of well-being separately. And acknowledge that the two first - doing well and need satisfaction - typically contribute to the third: subjective well-being.

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Why is it important?

Well-being has been conceptualized and measured using a broad variety of elements ranging from optimism, respect, and mindfulness to energy, purpose, and flow. Too much diversity means that various measures might not have almost any overlap. Thus it is crucially important to bring some clarity around well-being: What are the essential types of well-being and what elements should be included in them.

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This page is a summary of: Clarifying the Concept of Well-Being: Psychological Need Satisfaction as the Common Core Connecting Eudaimonic and Subjective Well-Being, Review of General Psychology, October 2019, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1089268019880886.
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