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Happiness, Health and wellbeing

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Valeri Natanelov

on 26 August 2017

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Transcript of Happiness, Health and wellbeing

Happiness and Health
Ernesta Sofija (previously Paukste)
What is behind the terminology
(Subjective?) Happiness => economists and psychologists

(Objective?) Health => social epidemiologists
complex construct that concerns optimal experience and functioning (Ryan and Deci, 2001)
Defines well-being in terms of pleasure attainment and pain avoidance
Relates to positive functioning; focuses on meaning and self-realization
Maslow's (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs
=> motivational theory in psychology
comprising a five tier model of human needs
Keyes, C. L. M., Shmotkin, D., & Ryff, C. D. (2002). Optimizing well-being: The empirical encounter of two traditions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(6), 1007-1022.



Transient sadness and happiness are accompanied by significant changes in regional brain activity in the limbic system as well as other brain regions

Transient sadness and happiness affect different brain regions in divergent directions and are not merely opposite activity in identical brain regions
George, Mark S; Ketter, Terence ,A; Parekh, Priti I; Horowitz, Barry; et al. The American Journal of Psychiatry; Washington152.3 (Mar 1995): 341-51.
(George et. al 1995)
(Machado and Cantilino, 2016)
The Neurologists
Systematic literature review of human studies reporting neural correlates of positive emotions.
Core research that initiated the field
The Economists
Subjective well-being (SWB) is evaluation of life in terms of satisfaction and balance between positive and negative affect;

Psychological well-being (PWB) entails perception of engagement with existential challenges of life.
The Psychologists
The Neurologists
=> Implies a complex system
The Economists
The Neurologists
The Psychologists
Public Health
Coherent and holistic approach to Well-being
6 Key indicators:

Social support
Trustworthy governance

World Happiness Report
Social support
Trustworthy governance
Happy people live longer
A 75-year Harvard study has revealed the most important factor in human happiness....
Interesting TEDtalk to watch if you are interested
My PhD research....
The relationship between self-perception of wellbeing and lifestyle behaviours in emerging adults in Eastern Australia
Various types of subjective well-being such as positive affect predict health and longevity, controlling for health and socioeconomic status at baseline.
High SWB adds
4 to 10 years
to life compared to low SWB
It is perhaps time to add interventions to improve subjective well-being to the list of public health measures, and alert policy makers to the relevance of SWB for health and longevity?
"Photographs of 196 professional baseball players taken in 1952 were rated for smiling. Mortality occurring by 2009 was predicted by smiling (Abel & Kruger 2009)"
Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic disease
Lower cardiovascular mortality and lover rates of cancer-related deaths
Lower pain and greater tolerance of pain
Decreased health care utilisation
Social relationships have been found to have a strong association with mortality, and in fact show a larger effect on longevity than factors such as physical activity, body-mass index, air pollution, and drug treatment for hypertension.
We have compelling evidence on the link between happiness/subjective wellbeing and health
Why and how? - we do not yet know much about
How different populations perceive/define and experience wellbeing? - we do not yet know much about
Where to next?
Potential pathway: There is some evidence that both the level of wellbeing and the way people construct it can potentially influence lifestyle behaviour
1) The associations between wellbeing indicators and lifestyle behaviours (e.g. binge drinking, risky driving, sexual risk taking)
Quantitative survey
2) The perceptions/meaning and experiences of wellbeing
Qualitative: photo-elicitation interviews
Some findings
Suggested new preliminary model of wellbeing
Gross national happiness
is a developing philosophy as well as an "index" which is used to measure the collective happiness in any specific nation.
The first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being.

Since then the world has come a long way.

Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy.
Bhutan case
World Health Organization (WHO) defined health "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
Psychological wellbeing
Time use
Cultural diversity and resilience
Good governance
Community vitality
Ecological diversity and resilience
Living standards
The GNH Index includes nine domains

The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.
Happiness has been linked with:
Full transcript