What ‘Life Satisfaction’ Truly Means


How do you feel about your life in general? Looking back, did you get most of the important things you wanted? Are you living your best life? These are some of the questions that concern life satisfaction. 

People often think that happiness and life satisfaction are the same thing. When people are happy, it means they are satisfied with their lives. However, even if both may influence each other, happiness and life satisfaction are two different things. 

Life satisfaction is obtained from achieving goals, even if these goals lead individuals to experience pain, agony, and material deprivation. In contrast, happiness is an emotional response, a gut reaction without knowing its reason. 

Hence, life satisfaction is more stable and long-lived, which is what people seek. In this article, you will learn more about life satisfaction and how to achieve it from a scientific perspective. 

What does ‘life satisfaction’ actually mean? 

Life satisfaction refers to the inquiry of what leads individuals to evaluate their lives in positive terms, and it strongly depends on individuals’ standards of a good life. It is an individual’s general feeling about life and how pleased they are with their life. It is crucial since it is correlated with health-related aspects such as physical illness, sleep problems, obesity, smoking, and anxiety. 

Hence, life satisfaction strongly influences individuals’ health and longevity. Some global surveys have found measuring life satisfaction among countries useful to provide a personal evaluation of an individual’s health, education, income, personal fulfillment, and social conditions. It also gives a big picture of the presence and absence of positive and negative experiences and emotions. 

How to get satisfaction in life

Are you wondering how to not just experience temporary happiness but also achieve lasting life satisfaction? Here are some helpful ways that can make a difference for you:

Engage in volunteering

One study involving 186 volunteers aged 65 years and above in Taiwan found that volunteering was associated with a higher life satisfaction. Even for people already volunteering, engaging in formal volunteering five or more days per week may enhance life satisfaction compared to those engaged in less than five days per week. 

It happens since volunteering is often followed by eudaimonic motives, which seek growth, meaning, authenticity, and excellence, rather than hedonic motives, which seek pleasure, enjoyment, comfort, and absence of distress. Therefore, engaging in volunteering is recommended for enhancing life satisfaction. 

Have good-quality friendships

Besides volunteering, having good-quality friendships may also enhance one’s life satisfaction. Connections with others are important as individuals continue to thrive and grow. Therefore, more support and positivity from friends in life is essential. 

Also, this enhancement of life satisfaction happens when individuals have a sense of belonging within one’s social network and are considered someone else’s friend. The rule of thumb is to have three or more friends and enhance your face-to-face interaction with them. 

Improve physical health 

In a study examining the connection between physical health and life satisfaction, researchers gathered 2,164 participants aged 65 from Brazil. The findings revealed that a higher prevalence of chronic diseases predicted lower life satisfaction, particularly among individuals with severe, progressive, and degenerative physical ailments.

When individuals experience changes in their life due to physical limitations, they compare themselves with their bodies in the past and with their peers; hence, life satisfaction levels tend to decline. Individuals may try to engage in physical activity and have a balanced diet to enhance physical health. 

Read more: The Perks of Having a Balanced Diet 

Practice gratitude

A  higher level of gratitude enhances the level of life satisfaction. Individuals who view a favor as a “gift” are more likely to enjoy the benefit. 

Moreover, gratitude may also protect individuals from adaptation to satisfaction, which may prevent them from being happy with things that have been achieved. Then, gratitude prevents individuals from upward social comparisons and enhances the recollection of positive experiences. 

Ultimately, this can improve a person’s social benefits and prevention of depressive behavior. To cultivate gratitude, individuals may try a gratitude journal and do gratitude meditation. 

Practice good money management

Financial condition is substantially essential for life satisfaction. It is not about achieving financial heaven but about being fulfilled and satisfied with your financial condition. When an individual has better money management, they can participate in activities that enhance their life satisfaction without concerns about financial adversities. 

Additionally,  better financial planning enhances healthier relationships, which are closely related to life satisfaction. Hence, individuals need to be informed about the practice of financial planning and retirement planning since it would make a big difference in life satisfaction. 

In conclusion 

Life satisfaction refers to individuals’ overall feelings about their lives and the extent of their contentment with their journey. Consequently, life satisfaction is crucial for enhancing mental and physical health. The good thing is that individuals can increase it by building a positive connection, taking care of themselves, and achieving long-term contentment. So, remember to live and cherish your life the way you want it because each individual has just one life to live!

If you would like to see more resources on life satisfaction, check out the Personal Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Personal Science Labs today.

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