“Harmonic principles” of wellbeing unveil the global population’s experiences related to balance, harmony, inner peace and contentment in life.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In a new report, Wellbeing for All: Incorporating Harmonic Principles of Wellbeing in Subjective Wellbeing Research and Policymaking, Gallup and the Wellbeing for Planet Earth (WPE) Foundation outline the evidence for a novel four-dimensional construct of subjective wellbeing, designated as the “harmonic principles” of wellbeing. Harmonic principles draw attention to historically overlooked experiences like feelings related to harmony and balance, as well as contentment and inner peace, and are complementary to the traditionally established models of subjective wellbeing.
The study, which was conducted in 142 countries through the Gallup World Poll in 2022, finds that most of the global population (80%) “always” or “often” feels in harmony with others. The feeling of balance is not as common as harmony — slightly more than half globally feel that the various aspects of their lives are in balance (59%), compared with 39% who do not.
At the country level, the report finds that harmony and balance are positively associated with global metrics used by policymakers worldwide, like the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Social Progress Index (SPI).
“We started doing this research in 2019 and are now discovering how a harmonic view of wellbeing can complement our measures of subjective wellbeing beyond the traditionally established evaluative and emotional components,” said Alden Lai, an executive adviser to the Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation and the lead for the Global Wellbeing Initiative partnership with Gallup. “We think that the harmonic principles of wellbeing provide a new lens for local and global policymaking.”
The report also shows that harmony and balance, though sometimes perceived as similar experiences, are two distinct concepts related to wellbeing. Key findings from the report include:
- Four in five (80%) members of the global population always or often feel in harmony with others, and 70% feel in harmony with their own thoughts and feelings.
- More than 70% always or often feel stable and secure (73%) or content (71%) in their lives.
- A majority feel that various aspects of their lives are in balance (59%) and that the amount of things happening in their lives is just right (57%).
- Most of the countries with high rates of balance are wealthy nations — 68% or more experience balance in high-income areas like Europe, Australia–New Zealand, East Asia and Northern America, compared with less than half of the population in sub-Saharan Africa (47%).
- The most striking demographic differences are related to socioeconomic status.
- For people who find it very difficult to live on their current income, over half say they frequently feel stable and secure in their lives (55%), content (52%), and that their thoughts and feelings are in harmony (56%), compared with 87%, 86% and 81% among those living comfortably.
- People with higher educational attainment are also more likely to experience balance- and harmony-related experiences regularly.
- More than 80% of those with four years beyond secondary education report always or often feeling in harmony with others (88%) and with themselves (81%), stable and secure (84%), and content with life (82%).
- Majorities of people with higher education also report that their lives are in balance.
“Our visionary partnership with the Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation through the Global Wellbeing Initiative has already enhanced existing wellbeing metrics, with the concept of calmness becoming a permanent part of the Gallup World Poll’s core measures of emotion,” said Joe Daly, a senior partner at Gallup. “This kind of innovative research is game changing for policymakers worldwide who consider the benefits and rewards of adopting harmonic principles of wellbeing in shaping their decisions.”
To view the methodology, please visit the full report.
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About the Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation
The Wellbeing for Planet Earth (WPE) Foundation is the first of its kind worldwide: a Japan-based nonprofit organization that supports research, practice and policy advances to reflect a truly global view of wellbeing. The Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation’s efforts are driven by science and geo-cultural inclusiveness and accomplished through international philanthropy and public-private partnerships.
About the Global Wellbeing Initiative
The Global Wellbeing Initiative, created by Gallup and the Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation, aims to expand the conceptualization and measurement of wellbeing with globally inclusive perspectives to better understand how to promote wellbeing for all.
Riada Asimovic Akyol
Senior Communications Consultant
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