What is Well-Being?
Well-being is the integration of positive feelings, meaningful doing, and sustainable connecting. Well-being, including the lack of well-being in our lives, is something we’re all deeply familiar with, and yet it is still a complex, almost indescribable concept. Well-being is about flourishing in multiple domains of living, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. A Stanford community vision for well-being focuses on what we all need, both as individuals and communities, to function, feel, and be well.
Most elements of well-being can be linked to universal human needs and desires that evolved in our bodies and minds over millions of years. Whether its connection, comfort, agency, and safety — or belonging, meaning, purpose, and pleasurable emotions— all of these are important to us modern humans because they have roots in our history, and were essential to our ancestors. In the last two centuries our world has changed so drastically that our well-being has been challenged as we depart from ways of living that make up our histories.
But how can we skillfully navigate our complex, demanding lives, the challenges at Stanford, and the desire to belong in a fast-moving world? Stanford may be an academic institution, and you may be a student—but a life well-lived is more than productivity and academic accomplishment. Developing our well-being is an active, lifelong process of choices, skill-building, and introspection that lead toward your own visions of health, fulfillment, and meaning.
Explore the dimensions of flourishing. Reflect on your current level of flourishing, and discover what actions you can take to develop your well-being while at Stanford.
The model of flourishing we explore at Stanford started with the foundational research from leaders in the various fields, but then, importantly, was customized by the Stanford community to fit the experiences of what it means to flourish at Stanford. As we learn more about ourselves, our communities, and what it means for us to be well, these models of well-being will, and should, change to reflect our current realities.