Happiness is something very subjective. As such, it is very difficult to measure. By what general standards can society measure the happiness of people? Quality of life is a term coined to help define the general well-being of individuals in a community.
Individuals and societies aim for quality of life. This social concept is not only limited to one’s standard of living or of their income. To measure a person’s happiness only with how much they earn would be incomplete. Then, what makes up the quality of life? Here are some essential indicators.
Having good health is an excellent indicator of the quality of life. With a strong body, people can move forward with their goals. Achieving these aspirations will give a person a sense of fulfillment. People consider health as intangible wealth. With good health, one can earn a living and save on costs of hospital care.
But, when someone has a terminal illness, does it mean that there is no more quality of life? Although it may seem that way, this is where hospice care steps in. They assure that even with an incurable disease, a patient can still live each day to the fullest. They also offer support to the patients’ loved ones. First-rate health care falls under the umbrella of health as a gauge of the quality of life.
Another aspect of health that has gained attention from people is mental health. A person’s well-being is not only measured by how much their body thrives. The capacity of the mind to handle stress and other negative emotions is essential, too. It is a big factor in how an individual will function within their families and communities.
Productive or Main Activity
Being productive is indicative of high quality of life. This indicator is not so much about the amount of salary that one makes. This is more of the availability of employment present in a community. It also looks at the quality of employment. Are the businesses safe and ethical? Do employees have a good work-life balance? These things are more important than the question of how much a person earns.
This indicator also covers unpaid work or volunteer work. The main thing measured is the satisfaction of the person. Also, it aims to gauge the ability to produce or make good use of their time. Altruism also increases the quality of life.
Some people may have hindrances to being productive such as being time-poor. This term refers to individuals who have little or no time to spend as they wish. These individuals include low-wage workers and single parents. Because of the long hours needed from them, productivity may decrease.
Leisure and Social Interactions
Leisure refers to how you spend your free time both for recreation and entertainment. In the fast-paced world, people often forget to give time to things that they enjoy. But, in doing so, they can increase their happiness and state of well-being. It does not need to be grand at all. It could be as simple as an afternoon tea or a short meditation. But, if you have time to spare, engaging in sports or a hobby is a good pick. Some people also like to do activities that other people would consider a chore. For example, you may enjoy cooking and grocery shopping. These activities can fall under leisure as long as you consider it as your time to decompress.
Devoting time to friends, family, and community affects the satisfaction of an individual. Social support and social cohesion are both important measures of good connections. One can spend quality time with people that are dear to them to improve or maintain good connections.
Overall Experience of Life
This indicator may be the hardest to measure. This is because it is very subjective and personal for each individual. It includes life evaluation through reflective assessment. People may rate their lives based on their successes and challenges.
The overall experience of life also includes a person’s affect or emotions. This includes both positive and negative ones. Navigating through the highs and lows of emotions affects the quality of life.
Eudaimonia is another term under this indicator. In simple words, this is the level of self-fulfillment that a person has. It is the sense that they have maximized whatever potentials they have. The idea of having created a positive change to society also adds to this state of being.
Being able to measure the quality of life is important not only to individuals. A community or a nation that has a collective good measure of the quality of life could be more progressive.