Foundations and Future of Well-Being: How Personality Influences Happiness and Well-Being

Foundations and Future of Well-Being: How Personality Influences Happiness and Well-Being

Vidya S. Athota (University of Notre Dame, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2021-4.ch012
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Abstract

This chapter begins by exploring subjective well-being and its origins dating back to ancient thinkers such as Aristotle. It discusses two main forms of subjective well-being; eudaimonic and hedonic well-being. The chapter then delves into the roles of personality, emotional intelligence, positive emotions, economics and religion in influencing subjective well-being. Measures of well-being are discussed as well as the notion of the Hedonic Treadmill and how it operates with the Set-point Theory of happiness. In addition, this chapter also presents the latest research from neuroscience and discusses how neuroscience potentially challenges personality and set-point theories. A few practical steps for subjective well-being are also discussed. Overall, this chapter covers the historical and contemporary theories of subjective well-being and explores a new positive direction on the association of personality, health and subjective well-being.
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Background

Subjective Well-Being

The concept of subjective well-being refers to an individual’s evaluation of overall life satisfaction and feelings (Kesebir & Diener, 2008; Marks & Shah, 2005; Seiligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). It includes positive and negative evaluation of cognitive, emotional, economic and social aspects of one’s life. Interventions such as positive thinking, exercise, eating well and spirituality help to promote subjective well-being (Ryff, 2014). Life satisfaction (including pleasure and enjoyment), personal development (engagement in life, social cohesion, curiosity and resilience), and general social wellbeing (positive attitudes and belongingness in social activities) are important dimensions of subjective well-being (Marks & Shah, 2005). Well-being and happiness is also associated with success in various domains of life (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005).

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