We will write a custom Essay on Positive Psychology: Subjective Well-Being specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Positive psychology is divided into three levels, which include subjective level, individual level and group level. The subjective level deals with the study of the person’s positive experiences such as joy, happiness and satisfaction, while the individual level focuses on the identification of the ingredients of a good life or personal characteristics that make one a good person. Lastly, the group level of positive psychology emphasizes on civic virtues and other factors that enhance development of citizenship and communities (Diener, Harter, & Arora, 2010). This paper describes subjective well-being.
Human beings have always tried to investigate what brings happiness or life satisfaction over the years. This concern led the psychologists to carrying out studies in subjective well-being. As a result, they realized that a person’s well-being and happiness depend on mood, emotions, and cognitive judgments. Therefore, subjective well-being refers to the study of the individual’s cognitive development and effective assessment of his or her life (Tay & Diener, 2011). This implies that one’s happiness and satisfaction depend on two elements, which include emotional reactions and cognitive judgments. Cognitive judgments refer to the way a person perceives his /her satisfaction, both broadly and in specific areas. On the other hand, emotional reaction refers to personal mood and feelings that define the evaluation of a good life by the individual (Diener, Harter, & Arora, 2010).
Some psychologists suggest that personal characteristics such as love, wisdom and freedom are expressions of a fulfilled existence, while others argue that the presence of pleasurable experience and absence of pain describe a good life. Therefore, subjective well-being can be summarized as the emotional, mental, and physical pleasures and pains that people experience. Pleasant emotions and feelings such as joy and happiness denote positive life experience, while unpleasant emotions and feeling such as guilt, shame and anger denote negative personal experiences (Diener, Harter, & Arora, 2010).
The concept of subjective well-being is explained well using philosophical principle of utilitarianism, whereby the presence of pleasure and absence of pain describes a good life. This means that person with a greater level of satisfaction and less pain is deemed to enjoy a higher level of subjective well-being. This makes subjective well-being to be all about maximizing ones’ pleasures and minimizing pain (Tay & Diener, 2011).
Measurement of Positive Psychology
Measurement of positive psychology is not aimed at solving life problems, but rather it is focused on investigating things that improve quality of life. The study aims at providing solid empirical research in areas involving well-being, creativity, psychological health, strength, and wisdom (Gable &Haidt, 2005). In measuring subjective well-being psychologists evaluate how individuals perceive or think about their lives in general. Despite pleasant and unpleasant affects being elements of subjective well-being, they are independent and have different correlates. Therefore, they are studied separately for learners to comprehend the true picture of subjective well-being.
This implies that when a person experience positive influence it does not mean that he/she does not experience negative influence. This understanding has implications in the study of positive psychology (Diener, Harter, & Arora, 2010). For instance, independence of pleasant and unpleasant personal feelings shows that attempts to eliminate pain or negative feelings would not necessarily result in positive effect. Gable and Haidt (2005) provide that elimination or reduction of pain does not necessarily produce an increase in pleasure because living and working in the world of sorrow and anxiety does not improve personal happiness.
Why the Study of Positive Psychology has gained Popularity
The study of subjective well-being is flourishing in the world today because people are living in a post-materialistic world where individualism and quality of life matter most. Therefore, subjective well-being gives people an opportunity to express their opinions about what they feel a satisfying life entails. The growing trend of individualism and people’s concern about their own feelings and beliefs correspond perfectly with the study of subjective well-being making it more interesting (Gable &Haidt, 2005).
Diener, E., Harter, J., & Arora, R. (2010). Wealth and happiness across the world: Material prosperity predicts life evaluation, whereas psychosocial prosperity predicts positive feeling. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 52-61.
Gable, S. &Haidt, J (2005). What (and Why) is Positive Psychology? Review of General Psychology, 9 (2), 103–110.
Tay, L. & Diener, E. (2011). Needs and subjective well-being around the world. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 354.