When a person starts evaluating his or her life in terms of cognition and affect then it is termed as the sense of Subjective well-being (SWB). Here the cognitive terms denote the whole living system of a being and taking life to be in a full domain, and affect is the notion of picking particular aspects or parts of the life and critically analyzing it-family, work, society, etc. Affect is about the happy, positive emotions and moods that people reflect at specific times like elation, joy, etc. Hence, there is no level as low or high to share about one’s subjective well-being, since it is specific to people and everyone has differences in their affects and feelings.
“Satisfaction with Life Scale-SWLS” and the “Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-PANAS” are two important scales that are used for measuring the subjective well-being of an individual. These two scales offer two separate entities for measurement, as the latter is about affective balance and the first one is about general life satisfaction. Self-reports may also be utilized but many questions of validity will arise since people could answer in a biased or random manner.
Finally, scientists have preferred to keep it short by saying that subjective well-being is used for defining the many different forms of happiness altogether.
3 TYPES OF HAPPINESS
There exist 3 forms of happiness for the subjective well-being of a person, according to Diener, (1984). The first one is “life satisfaction” which arises from causes like achieving one’s goals and from high self-esteem. The statements like “I am satisfied and happy with my job”, etc. denotes life satisfaction. The second type of happiness is “frequent positive feelings” which can arise from a supportive peer group or even being extravert in personality. “I like being around my friends” is the example of a positive feeling. The third and the important aspect of happiness are “low negative feelings” which is saying “I am rarely sad about something”. This can be from a positive approach to life and also a personality which is low in neuroticism.
The causes mentioned for the three types of happiness differ for every person and also differ according to the surroundings. Some people are so happy that they experience all the three parts in their life. Some of the individuals are more likely to have any two contexts of happiness but most of the people in any society have only one form of happiness, according to their life style and current goals. What is mandatory is that every individual must definitely experience any one of the causes of happiness mentioned and whether ones gets satiated or not is the primary notion of subjective well-being.
SIX DOMAINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING
Carol Ryff did much pioneering work on the translation of happiness that is subjective well-being of an individual. From her list of systematic reviews and theories, she stated that when SWB is taken into consideration, every human being has facets of optimal psychological functioning, as in six factors, namely;
- Self-acceptance (High acceptance and low acceptance)
- Positive relations (strong relations and weak relations)
- Autonomy (High Autonomy and low Autonomy)
- Environmental mastery (High mastery and low mastery)
- Purpose in life (strong Purpose and weak Purpose)
- A sense of personal growth (strong growth and weak growth)
Carol Ryff’s six domain model of subjective well-being was different from other models and theories in the way she portrayed SWB as multi-dimensional and is not just happiness or simply positive emotions.
NEEDS HIERARCHY THEORY
Abraham Maslow’s famous Theory of Need states that every human being should attain the levels of subjective well-being if he or she has completed each hierarchy of the table, that is, is when a particular stage of the hierarchy is attained, then they will experience happiness and satisfaction. Some controversies were presented for Maslow’s theory but it is generally well accepted.
The idea of the adaptation model has remained a pseudo topic. Frederick and Loewenstein, 1999, stated that people no longer experience subjective well-being, since they always are in the run to adapt themselves for good and bad conditions and thus individuals come to the state of neutrality. This idea of the adaptation model was in combination with the equilibrium model of Headey and Wearing (1989), who defined that people will experience happiness or SWB depending upon their situation being good or bad and also their reaction beyond their baseline personal temperaments. This core was also not acceptable to many theorists since the data was not suitable for all conditions.
Some theories exist about the core values that people with SWB show, depending upon the level of their happiness expectations and standards. If the actual situation does exceed the standard conditions, these people will be happy. Some comparison and benchmarks become conscious for the perceived satisfaction levels. Dermer, Cohen, Jacobsen & Anderson (1979), supported this theory by demonstrating that people who had been in the remote times could be taken for the actual comparisons. Wills (1981) said that people can increase the subjective well-being by comparing downwards with less fortunate individuals.
SOME FACTS ABOUT SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING
- The effects of getting promoted or fired from an organization usually have an impact upon happiness for only 3 months.
- Happiness is not fully external; it is slightly innate.
- Belonging to religious communities and having full faith in God actually has impact on the subjective well-being of an individual.
- People will become less happy lately if they win a lottery game.
- Having children will make you happy is a myth, since it is found that parents of teenagers and under age 5 are less happy than normal.
- Watching and attending soap operas and programs makes a person slightly higher in happiness quotient than one who does not.
- Though this fact is not true for all nations, people are said to be happier if they are living in a wealthy country.
HOW TO IMPROVE SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING
- Have a personal journal or diary where you write about yourself.
- Appreciate even minute things around you.
- Note down all the positive good happiness in your life.
- Give more importance to quality than quantity for certain things.
- Ask and answer questions for yourself in a non-judgmental manner.
- Always share your winning moments with someone.
- Try to complete a sentence you say in a positive way, even if it is a negative one.
- Search for gratitude, for every day you complete, before you go to bed.
- Do something where people will remember you in that context.