How to improve your personal well-being
How has your personal well-being changed over the course of the past year?
It’s arguably a difficult thing to measure. After all, we have different views about what constitutes happiness, satisfaction and well-being.
But the Office for National Statistics has devised a way to measure and track personal well-being.
Their latest official figures on the subject show that average life satisfaction, worthwhile, happiness and anxiety ratings showed no overall change in the UK during the last year.
That’s despite Brexit rumbling on, despite England crashing out of the World Cup so close to that elusive final, and despite the continued rantings of US President Donald Trump.
Despite no overall change to these measures, they did find that fewer people reported low happiness ratings and more people reported very low anxiety ratings.
The proportion of people reporting very low anxiety ratings in England increased; this could be driving the improvement seen in the UK for those reporting very low levels of anxiety.
Looking at the findings on a regional basis, compared with the UK, a larger proportion of people in Wales reported “poor” personal well-being ratings across all measures.
Compared with both the UK and the other countries, people in Northern Ireland continued to report better average ratings across all personal well-being measures.
There were no overall changes in Scotland across the measures of personal well-being.
Considering these figure as a longer term trend, between the years ending June 2012 and June 2018, the proportion of people reporting “poor” ratings decreased, those reporting “very good” ratings increased, and “very good” ratings rose faster than “poor” ratings. This suggests that the improvements for those people struggling the most has been slower over time.
But what does money have to do with personal well-being?
The ONS concluded that the positive changes may be influenced by the improvement certain economic indicators, such as the unemployment rate. It makes sense to think that, when jobs are more abundant, our personal well-being should be better.
Real-term average wage rises during the last year could also have helped.
The ONS publication ties in nicely with new research from Age UK, which found that those in control of their finances feel generally calmer, happier and less worried.
The Age UK research was designed to show the importance of older people feeling on top of money matters. They found that a third of over 65s said they feel generally calmer and happier as a result of feeling in control, and admitted they worry less when this is the case.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director, said:
Being in control of your finances, regardless of how much money you have, is clearly a key component of good mental health and can make a big difference to how we feel about life generally.
Talking about money and any worries you might have is clearly an important step towards feeling more in control and less anxious about your personal finances.
Working with an independent financial planner is a great way to improve the way in which money contributes towards your personal well-being.