• paul of Others

    Similar to the concept of happiness, well-being has different dimensions as well. However, several psychologists have offered several variations of these dimensions. Even so, one can see the striking similarities in these variations.

    Carol Ryff 

    Even before “Positive Psychology” had become a rightful field of its own, Carol Ryff had started her research on well-being. She viewed well-being as a form of optimal psychological functioning than a direct expression of happiness. Her view of well-being is widely different from her peers’, who believe that well-being and happiness are the same things.

    Carol Ryff has identified six dimensions of well-being, which is now popularly known as the “Ryff Six.” These dimensions are self-acceptance, positive relations, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and a sense of personal growth. These dimensions are explained in detail below.

    As the name implies, self-acceptance refers to the degree of positive attitudes on your past behaviors, choices, and yourself.  Meanwhile, positive relations refer to the quality of your relationship with others. Autonomy then refers to your ability to be independent and self-reliant.

    Environmental mastery is commonly linked to adaptability. It refers to your ability to cope with any kind of situation, especially in stressful situations. On the other hand, the sense of personal growth refers to analyzes if you feel you are moving towards a good direction in life. The dimension of purpose in life is self-explanatory. It refers to how you see your life with meaning. 

    Martin Seligman

    Similar to Carol Ryff, Martin Seligman is a psychologist who pioneered the study of happiness and positive psychology. And while his theory of well-being is quite similar to hers, he views that well-being has five different dimensions These dimensions are positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement.

    As the name implies, the dimension of positive emotion focuses on your feelings of elation and pleasure. This dimension is seen to be the easiest to study as positive feelings are easy to track and observe.

    If the dimension of positive emotion focuses on simple pleasures, engagement then refers to challenging things. It is said that our state of well-being can be heightened by experiences that bring out our full potential. For this reason, activities that test our wits and strengths are vital to our growth.

    The dimension of a relationship can be quite similar to Ryff’s dimension of positive relations. However, Seligman’s dimension of relationship refers to your social connectedness with others. This dimension focuses on the degree of dependence on your well-being with others’ state of well-being.

    The dimension of meaning refers to your sense of purpose. But, in this dimension, this sense of purpose transcends one’s self and into a higher level of being.

    The last dimension, achievement refers to your sense of accomplishment or success. Though, achievement is not to be confused with meaning. In the dimension of achievement, some form of victory (with or without external recognition) must be observed.

    What do you think of these dimensions? Which dimension of well-being is the most important to you?


    Contributed by: Allison Julianne Macasaet, a freelance writer on the side, a student of international relations on the other. Interests include fantasy books, international relations, and lifestyle.