What are the differences between well-being and quality of life and what is the way to achieve them

Welfare week recently passed. The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the World Economic Forum are the organizations promoters of this initiativewhich seeks to develop a social movement that promotes actions for healthy living and draws attention to the problem among people, policymakers, communities and employers.

The concept of well-being is not easy to define, as there are many ways of looking at it.

Well-being: in search of a definition

Authors Richard Lucas, Ed Diener, and Eunkook Suh consider well-being to be made up of three factors: Satisfaction with lifepositive affect and negative affect and has been confirmed in numerous studies.

It reflects the evaluation that the person makes of his life in cognitive terms (satisfaction with life) and emotional (emotional balance between positive and negative affects).

This subjective well-being would come, then, to be the result of a overall balance (degree of satisfaction) that the person makes of their vital opportunities (personal and social resources), of the course of events that they face and of the emotional experience derived from it, suggest Amalio Blanco and Darío Díaz.

Meanwhile, the psychologist Rocío Fernández-Ballesteros proposes a model of satisfaction with life in which the exercise (understood as physical activity, satisfaction with it and social relations) and the Health (physical illness and subjective health) are the variables with the greatest impact.

Other authors have other issues in mind when talking about well-being.

Well-being and quality of life are not the same.  Photo Shutterstock.

Well-being and quality of life are not the same. Photo Shutterstock.

What are we talking about when we talk about quality of life?

The concept of quality of life has points in common and some other differences, especially with regard to objective factors that give people satisfaction.

Quality of life, according to the conceptualization of some authors, can be thought of in five different areas:

  • physical well-being (with concepts such as health, physical safety),
  • material welfare (referring to income, belongings, housing, transportation, etc.),
  • social welfare (personal relationships, friendships, family, community),
  • developing (productivity, contribution, education)
  • Y emotional well-being (self-esteem, mentality, emotional intelligence, religion, spirituality).

In any case, this does not seem to be the most common use of the concept.

Self-knowledge, key to well-being.  Photo Shutterstock.

Self-knowledge, key to well-being. Photo Shutterstock.

The vision of the contemplative sciences

For mindfulness as for the contemplative sciences, the concept of well-being refers to the path of self-discovery and the process of internal transformation that the be more aware every day.

Well-being is a process, a self-development that, although it is influenced and conditioned by the external, has a strong anchor in the individual. Especially in terms of the responsibility to unfold it in our lives.

But beware! That the individual is articulated to the general. The human being is a to be of connection, of bond. It is not possible to disconnect from our environment.

When we hear the concept “quality of life”, we think more of external conditionspossibilities to satisfy needs and feel good about it.

The economic income, for example, seems to be very important to achieve the mentioned conditions. Thus, a considerable difference with well-being is seen.

The practice of mindfulness helps reduce emotional reactivity.  Photo Shutterstock.

The practice of mindfulness helps reduce emotional reactivity. Photo Shutterstock.

Mindfulness or the path of inner transformation

Starting out in a mindfulness program is opting for a path of well-being that involves developing the courage to discover ourselves and produce real changes in our lives.

As Carolina Muñoz, psychologist responsible for stress and anxiety management programs in our Train Your Brain Argentina space, says, “participants report feeling that they can face difficult situations for them more calmly.”

“In their stories they show how they begin to make use of that small space of freedom that all people have to consciously decide what to do, how to act against daily stressors,” he adds.

And he affirms that “the possibility of being able to respond consciously as an alternative to impulsive and automatic reaction places them in another place, situations begin to be seen from another perspective and their way of being in them is more adaptive”.

This brings as a consequence “greater well-being in your life from the decreased emotional reactivity“.

Among other aspects, “it decreases the production of cortisol and increases self-knowledge and the possibility of self-regulating our emotions.”

In the organizational sphere, contemplative practices also seem to have an impact, especially after the post-pandemic uncertainty and ambiguity.

Well-being in organizations

For Cecilia Lindner, a psychologist from our Business-oriented team, “the challenge for organizations is cultural, and working on well-being is understanding that it is fundamental put people at the center and include it in the organizational design”.

Those companies that manage to accompany their talent to lead a “lifebalance” are those that will be able to better adapt to the new challenges presented by the context, since well-being is already cannot be thought of as an embedded program in organizational design but must be a value that is worked on every day (understanding that it is multidimensional) from policies, strategies and practices.

This is why the development of soft skills or soft skills in leadership positions is a key point of investment, “although it takes time and strong commitment of all those involved to achieve it, since the leader is the bridge between the company and the people who are the ones who generate the results”.

As she suggests, “resilience, empathy, attentive listening, assertive communication, recognition of humanity shared are increasingly necessary for the integrity and synergy of work teams, therefore for the life of organizations”.

*Martín Reynoso is a psychologist, director of Train Your Brain Argentina and author of “Mindfulness, scientific meditation”.


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