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What is ‘wellbeing’?

17 April 2018

We all want our teenagers to be happy and healthy. Helping them to develop mental wellbeing will increase their ability to get the most out of their teenage years. But what is ‘wellbeing’?

So, what is wellbeing?

The World Health Organisation defines mental wellbeing as:

‘A state in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’.

A strong sense of wellbeing helps us to feel good about ourselves, and about the way our lives are going.

Source: WHO

Why is wellbeing important?

Wellbeing allows us to feel emotions such as happiness, contentment, curiosity, satisfaction – all of which help us to function well in the world and lead our lives to their fullest. Wellbeing also plays a role in supporting our mental health, by giving us a greater ability to manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This helps us to maintain good relationships, set and achieve goals, and find meaning and purpose in our endeavours.

The other interesting thing about wellbeing is it can have an upward spiral effect. If you do something which increases your wellbeing, it's likely to make you feel good, which in turn will motivate you to do something else to further improve your sense of wellbeing and make you feel even better.

What effect does wellbeing have on teenagers?

High levels of wellbeing in teenagers can help them flourish in life, and it also acts as a protective buffer against some of the challenges which may arise during the teenage years. Teenagers with strong mental wellbeing are better able to:

  • Manage their emotions
  • Enjoy positive relationships with friends and family
  • Apply themselves at school
  • Participate in activities that interest them
  • Feel optimistic about their future.

A simple framework which can help increase wellbeing is the 5 Ways to Well-being, developed by the New Economics Foundation in the UK. The framework outlines five proven strategies which have been proven to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing. They are:

  • Connect
  • Be active
  • Take notice
  • Keep learning
  • Give.

Read more: ReachOut 5 Ways to Wellbeing

Reach out logo

ReachOut is Australia's leading online health website for young people and their parents. Working with registered counsellors, psychologists and mental health professionals ReachOut provides online self-help tools that are used by over 1.5 million Australians each year. A valuable resource for many parents, teens and young adults.

If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, confidence or mental or physical health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs.

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