Happiness isn’t the same as wellbeing. Happiness is just a part of what we need to feel satisfied with how life is going for us. Besides happiness, we also pay attention to how much meaning and purpose our lives (and how we live them) afford us. Love and our feelings of connectedness play a big part. We also need a healthy sense of autonomy, and a good sense that we are competent in the world. Finally, we need optimal cognitive and physical functioning to complete our sense of wellbeing.
Ciarrochi, Kashdan and Harris have developed 7 foundations of wellbeing that they describe as being guided by the best available science and have direct practical use for helping make cognitive and behavioural changes to support welling. Here’s what they came up with, and some useful questions to see how well you measure up on that foundation building block for wellbeing.
- Functional beliefs about the self, others and the world.
- Do you believe you can overcome barriers and achieve goals?
- Do you view problems as a challenge of threat?
- Do you believe you have social worth?
2. Mindfulness and awareness.
- Are you aware of your emotions, actions, external stimuli and mental processes?
- Can you label and clarify the exact mixture of emotions that you are feeling at a given point in time?
3. Perspective taking
- Can you take the perspective of others?
- Can you take perspective on yourself?
- What do you care about?
- Do other people’s desires for you dominate your own?
5. Experiential acceptance
- In order to live according to what you care about, are you willing to have private experiences such as distress and self-doubt?
6. Behavioural control
- Are you able to control what you say and do in a way that promotes your goals and values?
7. Cognitive skill
- How well do you solve problems and reason?
Once you see how you’re doing on each of these building blocks, you can start to get some idea as to where you might want to start doing things differently. Coaching conversations can help with that.