What makes a good life?

| June 27, 2016

What exactly determines wellbeing? Does it change with age? Mihaela Zaharia wants your participation to find out why some people thrive and others don’t.

What makes a good life? Is it how much we consume and how many assets we own, how better off we are compared to our neighbours, how many pleasurable moments we have, or how meaningful we think our lives are, how meaningful our relationships are, or how much we contribute to others? Is it how much bad things happens in our lives or how resilient we are? Is there such thing as midlife crisis? Can we measure wellbeing? And… does it matter?

The concern for human wellbeing has become broader in the recent past. Economists as well as psychologists have been trying to answer the above and other similar questions in their own ways and have arrived at different conclusions. While a growing GDP has been used as a measure of the wellbeing of a country, the related growth in inequality and environmental destruction is often overlooked.

In 2009, the Final Report of the Sarkozy Commission argued for a need to shift policy makers’ attention from growth and welfare to human wellbeing. Australia is one of the countries that has taken up this challenge introducing a more comprehensive set of indicators, quantitative as well as qualitative.

Similarly, there is a tendency towards a more holistic approach to health, recognising that treating the pathology is often not enough for sustainable outcomes, and that health problems need to be seen in the context of the person’s overall wellbeing.

However, for the measures of wellbeing to have practical applicability, finding the right indicators is paramount. My Honours research project aims to finding some correlations among such indicators of wellbeing, more exactly perceived wellbeing. I am looking at how people perceive different aspects of their lives at different life stages, and I am in need of volunteers of all ages over 30 to answer my online survey. The survey combines several wellbeing measures created and validated by reputable psychologists. The participation is absolutely anonymous. My main interest is to see if wellbeing determinants change with age. My problem, however, is that I have over 80% of my respondents are younger than 30 years old (psychology students), and in this situation I cannot compare age groups.

If you can spare 30 minutes, please consider clicking on the link below to participate. After I have gathered all the results, I will follow up with a blog post here and let you know about my findings. So, let’s find out why some people thrive and others don’t. Is it true that later in life people become happier? Would it be possible to increase wellbeing by knowing the answers to these questions? Thank you for taking the time to read this post!

I would appreciate enormously if you’d click on this link to participate.