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Is India progressing holistically? Sadly, it’s not.

Witnessing A Decline of Subjective Wellbeing in Our Progressing Society

In today’s fast-paced world, we are witnessing significant advancements in technology, healthcare, and education. However, ironically, as society progresses, the subjective wellbeing of many individuals seems to be declining. We are gradually realizing that all is not well with our overall subjective wellbeing. On many fronts, things are not encouraging despite economic development. 

This article explores the paradox of our developing world and the diminishing sense of personal happiness and satisfaction that accompanies it. The focus here is on understanding why, despite such progress, people feel less happy and contented

What is Subjective Wellbeing?

Subjective wellbeing refers to how people experience the quality of their lives and includes emotional stability and cognitive judgments. It encompasses factors such as life satisfaction, joy, and the balance between positive and negative emotions. Essentially, it’s about how happy and content we feel with our lives.

Factors Contributing to the Decline in Wellbeing

Despite remarkable strides in societal development, several factors contribute to the lowering of subjective wellbeing:

Increased Stress and Anxiety: Modern Indian society faces a growing problem: increased stress and anxiety. Factors like intense work pressure, cut-throat competition, and societal expectations are contributing to a constant feeling of being overwhelmed.

Financial instability, demanding social norms, and the lack of work-life balance further exacerbate these anxieties. This pervasive stress not only impacts mental well-being but also manifests in physical symptoms, leading to a decline in overall health and well-being.

Social Isolation: Social isolation, the lack of meaningful social connections, is becoming increasingly prevalent in contemporary Indian society. This phenomenon can be attributed to several factors, including the fast-paced urban lifestyle, nuclear families, and increased reliance on technology.

While India boasts a strong sense of community, individuals, especially those in urban areas, often find themselves leading isolated lives with limited social interaction beyond immediate family. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and a sense of detachment from others.

Furthermore, the rise of technology, while offering convenience, can inadvertently contribute to social isolation. Excessive screen time and the virtual nature of online interactions is replacing face-to-face connections. It leaves people feeling emotionally disconnected despite being constantly connected digitally. This lack of genuine social interaction can have a negative impact on mental well-being. It therefore highlights the need for conscious efforts to build and maintain meaningful social bonds in our increasingly digital world.

Economic Disparities: Although the global economy has grown, not everyone has benefited equally. The widening gap between the rich and the poor contributes to societal discontent and frustration.

Environmental Concerns: Growing awareness of environmental degradation and climate change also adds to the anxiety and helplessness felt by many individuals, impacting their overall happiness.

The Role of Social Media

Social media plays a significant role in shaping our perception of happiness. Constant exposure to curated glimpses of others’ lives can lead to harmful comparisons and a sense that everyone else is happier and more successful. This comparison can decrease our own satisfaction with our lives.

Mental Health Awareness

There is a silver lining, however. The decline in subjective wellbeing has led to increased awareness about mental health. More people are now talking about and seeking help for mental health issues, which had been stigmatized in the past. This shift is vital in addressing the root causes of unhappiness in our society.

Strategies to Improve Subjective Wellbeing

Improving our overall happiness requires both individual and collective efforts. Here are some strategies that can help:

Foster Strong Community Ties: Building strong community ties is like weaving a safety net for society. It means actively creating spaces and opportunities for people to connect, share experiences, and support one another. This can be through organizing local events, joining community groups, or simply striking up conversations with neighbours.

 By fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose, strong community ties provide individuals with a sense of belonging and support, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. This interconnectedness also strengthens social bonds, encourages collaboration, and empowers individuals to work together for positive change, ultimately leading to a more vibrant and resilient society.

Promote Work-Life Balance: Promoting a healthy work-life balance is crucial for boosting subjective well-being. When we dedicate time to both our professional and personal lives, we feel more fulfilled and less stressed. This means setting boundaries between work and leisure, taking breaks throughout the day, and disconnecting from work emails after hours.

By prioritizing personal pursuits like hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and getting enough sleep, we create a sense of balance and satisfaction that contributes significantly to our overall happiness and well-being.

Access to Mental Health Resources: Making mental health resources easily accessible plays a crucial role in boosting subjective well-being. This means ensuring people have affordable and readily available options for seeking professional help when needed. This includes expanding mental health services in communities, raising awareness about existing resources, and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. By making it easier for individuals to access therapy, support groups, and other mental health services, we empower them to address their struggles and improve their overall well-being.

Mindfulness and Wellbeing Education: Integrating mindfulness and well-being education into society offers a promising path to increasing subjective well-being. Mindfulness practices, like meditation and mindful breathing, cultivate present-moment awareness and emotional regulation skills. This allows individuals to navigate daily challenges with greater calm and focus, reducing stress and anxiety.

Additionally, well-being education equips us with tools to manage our mental health, build resilience, and foster positive relationships.

By prioritizing these practices, we can cultivate a society where we feel more equipped to handle life’s challenges and experience a greater sense of overall well-being and happiness. Educating about mindfulness, stress management, and emotional wellbeing can empower us to take control of our happiness.

Conclusion

The decline in subjective wellbeing amidst societal progress is an ironic twist that needs addressing. By understanding the contributing factors and implementing strategies to combat them, we can hope to see an improvement in the overall happiness and satisfaction of individuals. As we continue to make technological and economic strides, it’s crucial to ensure that mental and emotional wellbeing keeps pace. With the right efforts, we can reverse the trend and move towards a happier, more content society.

To read more on mental health, visit Mind Therapy Blog