Characteristics and Definition of Good Quality of Life

Some general parameters define a good quality of life. We'll explain them here. However, every person must consider what specific things would contribute to their individual overall wellness and work on them.
Characteristics and Definition of Good Quality of Life

Last update: 01 December, 2020

There’s a lot of talk of good quality of life but people don’t always have a clear idea of what this actually means. In fact, there are many “expert” definitions about it, and one could say that every person must build their own concept of it.

You must also take into account that sociology, anthropology, health sciences, politics, and almost every human science has its own concept of what quality of life should be. In general, there are many things in common, but there are also differences.

There’s no set agreement on the importance of objective and subjective factors when it comes to quality of life. Some views give greater relevance to factors such as income level or the availability of public services. Other approaches place greater emphasis on perceived satisfaction or appreciation of life. Continue reading to find out what it’s all about.

“The quality of life is more important than life itself.”

-Alexis Carrel-

A woman enjoying herself.

What does it mean to have a good quality of life?

In general, one could say a good quality of life is the set of circumstances that guarantee the well-being of a person in a given context. These agree, to a greater extent, with the type of life a person wishes to have because they perceive them as stable.

From a certain point of view, quality of life is a sort of synonym of what people refer to as “happiness”. However, this last concept is rather abstract and relative. There are no fully defined reference points on happiness.

However, a study conducted by Harvard University for 76 years that was directed by psychiatrist George Vaillant concluded that the factors that make people happy are:

  • The presence of love.
  • Meaningful relationships.
  • No need for psychoactive substances.
  • Having a job that generates enthusiasm and provides what’s necessary to survive.
  • Optimism.

You must keep in mind that these are conclusions drawn from an extensive study, as much in years as in consulted people. However, the researchers conducted it in countries with high-income levels. Thus, it could be biased. Despite this, the items seem to have a certain degree of universality.

Welfare, well-being, and good quality of life

The word “welfare” also refers to a concept that doesn’t have a unanimous definition. There’s a good quality of life when there’s well-being, but the latter involves several dimensions and there must be a balance among them. The different types of well-being are:

Emotional well-being

A person who understands emotions and knows how to regulate them, developing from it a process of personal growth in which inner strength and the ability to make reasonable and autonomous decisions predominate. It’s possible to establish relationships of mutual support and interdependence with others under these conditions.

Material well-being

This exists when a person’s level of income allows significant needs to be met. This is controversial, since the needs themselves vary greatly from person to person. However, there’s well-being when a person has access to basic goods which include housing, food, health, public services, and recreation. From there on, the issue moves on to personal goals and values.

Social welfare is important for a good quality of life

There’s social welfare when there are established bonds of cooperation and solidarity with the groups you interact with. This implies healthy and peaceful relationships of support and mutual help that generate feelings of security and balance. Every person needs a support network to lead a good quality of life.

Physical well-being

This means having access to everything that guarantees health and includes medical services, access to a wholesome diet, physical activity, and overall healthy habits. It also implies having knowledge and awareness of the elements and practices that allow the body to function properly.

A person holding a salad.

Personal development

Every person needs to have the opportunities to grow and develop their potential in various fields. Among them, access to education and training. Also, to a dignified job in which one can apply individual skills and knowledge. One in which it’s possible to evolve in various ways.

As you can see, quality of life is made up of various factors. The right thing to do is to set the world on a path where all these forms of well-being are accessible to any human being, just for the sake of it.

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  • Ardila, R. (2003). Calidad de vida: una definición integradora. Revista Latinoamericana de psicología, 35(2), 161-164.