Understanding subjective well-being: the importance of moving away from hedonistic views
Sandoval González, Gabriela
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There is an over-reliance on external factors as a means for happiness. Since the rise of materialism 150 years ago, the concept of happiness became mainly related to how much you consume, have, and experience, i.e., hedonia. Great scientific discoveries have helped develop technology, physical health, and prosperity, yet subjective well-being in the world at large has not improved significantly (Kahneman et al. 2006). Instead, anxiety, depression, and mental distress are becoming more common than ever (Ritchie and Roser 2018). Public policy has been mainly focused on improving well-being factors related to wealth and economic welfare, yet economists and scientists have found that over the long-term this approach has not been sufficient, since humankind is not necessarily better off (Stiglitz 2019). Empirical well-being research has focused on refining how subjective well-being is measured, and on finding associations with physical and mental factors. Much progress has been made to understand what brings overall well-being to humanity, however, subjective well-being frameworks are often contradictory since “differing definitions of wellness have led to quite different types of inquiry concerning the causes, consequences, and dynamics of well-being” (Ryan and Deci 2001). “The future of the field depends on understanding the differences between various types of well-being, and the different and similar causes of each” (Diener, Scollon, and Lucas 2009). The causes of well-being and the public policies to support it still remain poorly understood.
- Ciencias Sociales 3638