Well-being: a science matter or just personal wisdom?

A new summer, a new course, this time “the science of well-being” from Yale University. Is been a long time that I am trying to do it and could not find the time –maybe the motivation- to go deeper on the meaning and tools to achieve well-being. I strongly believe that time is about personal choices rather than a burden. Analysing myself with criticism I realise that I consider well-being an extremely personal issue that may be improved, although not from a methodical basis. I am sure that this idea of mine was a bias to start the course and learn from different angles the surprising experience of building well-being from a framework of tools and empirical studies.
The conclusions from the course are truly impressive and surprisingly go against some traditional and pacifically accepted ideas of an extremely personal concept of what we need to be happy.
There is no “one-concept” of well-being, however, they are many studies and common conclusions that lead us to a concept that is far from what we thought. Many of the common misconceptions are around money, ideal love, perfect body, wonderful job, etc.

All of them are proven to be wrong as well as the fantasies that they are creating around it, mainly feed by prejudices and preconceived forecast of our near future “if I would have….”.
Many studies have shine light on the need to change it, however feeding more doubts about the real meaning and goals for each person.
For example, they are studies that get to the conclusion that all those people that get to higher positions and made them there main goal in life, once achieved they are not the happiest people –or even worse they do not feel fulfilled- Instead, those that give more importance to their time rather than their income -as taking sabbatical years or reducing their work hours- their experimented high levels of satisfaction in comparison with the “successful ones”. A conclusion that is devastating and contradictory with a personal and societal conception of success.

My particular definition of well-being is the capacity to be fulfilled within your particular circumstances and goals. Is in this sense that becomes extremely personal and sometimes also within a cultural burden. Is a fact that in countries with lower income well-being is reached from a different perspective than richer countries. Religion is also an indicator of where to place personal priorities and a sense of satisfaction and in the end, happiness.

Is it my conclusion that well-being is a especial state in which because of external and/or internal resources you hold an especial framework that allows you to develop your skills and live through your personal “lenses”. During COVID19, well-being does not necessarily represent the same as some months ago but is adapted to the current circumstances in which each of us defines their levels of satisfaction or comfort. E.g. if traveling abroad is part of your fulfilment, now is changed to the view of your garden, books, films, contact with nature, Internet search, or virtual social connection, that works as a catalyser that delivers this extremely difficult multifaceted concept of well-being.

From my particular view, the course is very useful and interesting in educative terms of analyzing, working as an engine of creativity rather to apply the tools directly to my own life. Nevertheless is being a completely different and insightful experience of looking at myself through the lenses of science, instead of culture, traditions, or just personal conceptions and habits.
Painting your own life: the challenge of being yourself without external influence, points of reference, or any kind of distraction that keeps you away from your inner nature.

*Lorenzo Quinn.

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