Well-being - a working definition

A program about 'engaging with life' needs to be clear about two things: what emotional well-being is; and how to develop it in young people.

One of the best definitions of emotional well-being comes from the Positive Psychology movement based on the work of Martin Seligman and others. It has five elements:

  • positive emotions - good mood, the cornerstone of wellbeing theory
  • engagement - focused attention, flow, being in your element
  • meaning - belonging to and being part of something you believe is bigger than the self
  • accomplishment - what humans choose to do for its own sake, mastery
  • positive relationships - "doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested"

From: Flourish Martin Seligman, Random House, 2011

Another definition of well-being based on an assessment of over 400 scientific papers on the subject, provides a set of five simple actions which can improve well-being in everyday life:

  • connect - with people around you, family, friends, community. A cornerstone of your life - building these connections will support you and enrich you for life
  • be active - go for a walk, step outside, dance, play sport. Humans are designed to move
  • take notice - be curious, be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflect and appreciate what matters to you
  • keep learning - try something new, do a course, learn an instrument, set a challenge. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun
  • give - show kindness, generosity, gratitude. Seeing yourself and experiencing being linked to the wider community can be rewarding and promotes well-being.

From: New Economics Foundation, UK. http://www.neweconomics.org/projects/five-ways-well-being

The avec program merges these two useful definitions of well-being with the Human Givens approach to emotional health and delivers:

Six steps to emotional well-being:

  • Get Ready: sound preparation from better sleep
  • Get Set: reduced expectations, raised awareness of the present
  • Go For It: appropriate, purposeful, informed, action
  • Celebrate: attention to emotional needs: connection, meaning, control etc
  • Reflect: reflection routines: mindfulness, relaxation, gratitude, kindness
  • Good Night: better sleep: maintaining the REM/restorative sleep balance

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The avec projects provide an engaging, challenging, and exciting context for their development. Isn't this what you've been looking for?

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