For us wellbeing means healthier people, happier communities and a sustainable planet.
What does it mean to have a sense of wellbeing as an individual, as a community and as a society? And how can we all support the process of developing a more conducive society, where all may have the opportunity to flourish and thrive? And how can we meet people’s wellbeing needs in a way that is respectful of the natural limits of the planet? These are some of the important questions the Network of Wellbeing (NOW) seeks to address through our work.
Increasingly wellbeing is seen as important, not only in terms of health, but in terms of a wider view of wealth that acknowledges the societal challenges that threaten prosperity and environmental sustainability globally.
Wellbeing therefore is a very wide concept. Here at NOW, we are committed to holistic wellbeing, believing that lasting wellbeing for individuals comes from how we care for our relationships with others and with the planet, and how we engage with the community that surrounds us.
We see holistic wellbeing as embracing everything from health and relationships, to food and housing,to an inclusive economy, a fair society and a healthy environment. By engaging with each of the constituent parts of wellbeing, we can enhance our own quality of life and the quality of life of people around us.
In this regard, how we measure success and resource our progress is important. We work with and value several different approaches to wellbeing including NEF’s Five Ways to Wellbeing, Action for Happiness’s 10 Keys To Happier Living, and the Wheel of Wellbeing, all of which are really useful tools to help individuals achieve wellbeing .
We see other models, such as the Bhutanese measure of Gross National Happiness (GNH) or the Happy Planet Index (HPI), as potential ways of measuring holistic wellbeing. These are extremely helpful tools in helping us move beyond GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which has been shown to be a restrictive and incomplete way of measuring societal progress. Alternative measurements such as GNH and HPI offer us ways to measure progress in our society.
We believe that lasting wellbeing for individuals does not come from what they buy, and that individuals cannot achieve wellbeing by acting alone. A person’s wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of the community in which they live and work, while the wellbeing of their community depends on the wellbeing of society as a whole and the long-term health of the natural world on which we all depend.
So actions to promote wellbeing cannot simply be those that make individuals happier. One person’s wellbeing must support, not come at the expense of, others’ or the planet. This is not about sacrificing individual wellbeing, since caring effectively for our personal wellbeing can be done in a way that supports the community in which we live, the society of which we are part and the natural world which sustains all of our lives.
This is why for us, wellbeing means healthier people, happier communities and a sustainable planet.
Find out more:
• Take a look in more detail at what we do to support wellbeing, through building networks and working with communities.
• Learn more about different perspectives on wellbeing, through checking out our blog, videos and Wellbeing Database.