The World Health Organization defines quality of life as an individual’s perception of their position in life, in terms of their culture and values, goals, expectations, personal standards and concerns. Interestingly, it does not mention happiness or, on the other end, loneliness..
The United Arab Emirates has appointed a minister of happiness. Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi is Minister of State for Happiness for UAE, a role created in 2016. “This is serious business for the government,” she said during an interview. “What is the purpose of government if it does not work toward the happiness of the people? It’s the duty and role of the government to create the right conditions for people to choose to be happy.” “We have no intention as a government to impose happiness, or mandate it, or force it,” she added. “We’re just doing the right thing for our people . . . so they can have a better life.”
She sent 60 chief happiness and positivity officers to the Haas School of Business and the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and to Oxford University’s Mindfulness Center and the What Works Center for Wellbeing in the U.K., to be trained in how to create a more positive workforce and, ultimately, a more joyful nation.
Al Roumi unveiled a Happiness Patrol as well. Instead of handing out traffic tickets, police reward law-abiding motorists with gift vouchers and credit to their cell phones.
In England in 2010 they appointed a minister of loneliness. More than nine million people in their country often or always feel lonely. They wanted to confront this challenge for society and for all to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones – people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with. According to their government’s research, about 200,000 elderly people in their country have not had a conversation with a friend or a relative in more than a month.
A study in 2010 looked at the quality of life and career-sustaining behaviours among professionals. They discovered what ranked highest to function effectively and maintain a positive attitude.
1. Spend time with partner/family
2. Maintain a sense of humor
3. Maintain balance between professional and personal lives
4. Maintain self-awareness
5. Reflect on positive experiences
6. Engage in quiet leisure activities
7. Try to maintain objectivity about clients
8. Maintain professional identity
What had some of the lowest endorsements?
1. Use of substance to relax
2. Discuss work frustration with friends
3. Engage in formal relaxation activities
Here are the career-sustaining behaviours that related to those who also had a high wellness score.
1. Engage in physical activities
2. Use positive self-talk
3. Turn to spiritual beliefs
4. Spend time in self-reflection
5. Participate in continuing education
In conclusion, they found overall greater wellness translates to dramatically improved professional quality of life. Clearly, these types of self-care strategies are important for personal and professional quality of life.