“Lifestyle Factors Affect Morbidity, But Have Little Impact On Subjective Well-Being” Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Health, Utilitarianism, Wellness, Well-Being, Lifestyle, Life, Risk, Psychology

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2023/04/10

Introduction

Subjective well-being is an individual’s assessment of his or her life. How happy am I? How satisfied am I with my life? These are considerations made by an individual in order to determine subjective well-being. Lifestyle factors have little influence on this determination. Lifestyle factors are activities and behaviors that an individual chooses to engage in throughout his or her daily life. These are choices that have significant influence on health but little impact on subjective well-being. Choosing to consume a poor diet, refuse exercise, engage in unsafe sex, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use illicit drugs are all choices and lifestyle factors that directly impact an individual’s susceptibility to disease. Although lifestyle factors may slightly reduce or enhance an individual’s subjective well-being, these factors do not have any significant bearing on how satisfied a person is with his or her own life. Rather, subjective well-being is predominantly determined by personality and temperament.

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors are actions that an individual chooses to engage in throughout his or her day. These are typically habits that have a tendency to dramatically affect an individual’s health and morbidity. The way in which one chooses to eat is a lifestyle choice that many people give particular attention. Diet is a lifestyle factor that has garnered much attention. Diet has a tendency to have a significant effect on health. The quantity and the quality of food intake impacts health. Exercise is another lifestyle factor that impacts health. Individuals who ignore proper diet and exercise have an increased morbidity rate. Exercise helps the body grow and defend against illnesses. Choices concerning sexual activity also impact morbidity. Individuals who choose to participate in unsafe sex risk the chance of getting any number of sexually transmitted disease. Additionally, the use of cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs may have direct impact on many systems in the body including respiratory and cardiovascularr. These lifestyle factors obviously impact morbidity by increasing risk of disease. These factors, however, have little impact on subjective well-being.

Lifestyle factors that affect morbidity

Individuals who choose to eat a poor diet and refuse to exercise are more susceptible to obesity, diabetes, kidney failure and heart disease. Individuals who engage in unsafe sex are at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol or use illicit drugs also risk contracting various diseases relating to the kidneys, liver, heart or lungs. The World Health Organization has determined that forty percent of global morbidity is attributed to the risk factors of undernutrition, poor diet, physical inactivity, unsafe sex, addictive substances, environmental risks and occupational risks (WHO). The World Health Organization also claims that the poor and disadvantaged that live with limited education and simple occupations face more health risks than the wealthy.
Although many lifestyle factors are the result of choices made by an individual, those who reside in underdeveloped countries face these factors due to poverty. Yet, indicators of subjective well-being are not determined by socioeconomic factors. This may due to the fact that a person is much more than a consumer. Income and subjective well-being are not closely related and have been found by researchers in the field to not be directly related. Thus, if poverty is not determinative of subjective well-being then it can be inferred that the consequences of poverty are not implicit to subjective well- being. Subjective well-being is an individual’s measurement of his or her own life which includes his or her aspirations, achievements, failures, relationships, and emotions. Each individual assesses his or her well-being based upon his or her own culture or morality. Subjective well-being is also highly influenced by perception.

Subjective well-being

Subjective well-being is an individual’s overall judgment of life satisfaction. Subjective well-being is significantly related to personality. In fact, personality is one of the most reliable and strongest interpreters of subjective well-being. Subjective well-being is bestowed on an individual and remains set throughout his or her lifetime. There are periods that occur within an individual’s lifetime that may cause subjective well-being to fluctuate, but subjective well-being typically returns to the original or near the original base. This is because subjective well-being is a genetic predisposition to be happy. It is caused by inborn individual differences in the nervous system. Some psychologists claim that it is just as hard to change one’s happiness as it is to change one’s height .

Lifestyle factors have little impact on subjective well-being

Lifestyle factors have little impact on subjective well-being because subjective well-being is innate and lifestyle factors typically change throughout a person’s lifetime. The decision to eat right, exercise, partake in unsafe sex and use illicit drugs certainly impacts health, but these decisions do not have much of an impact of subjective well-being. These factors have little impact on subjective well-being because they tend to fluctuate throughout an individual’s lifetime. When an individual measures his or her own well-being, he or she typically considers subjective factors that include the utility he or she expects to derive from choices they have made. Ironically, this utility seldom matches what the individual actually experience once a choice is made. This leads to the conclusion that individual choices do not reflect utility. Despite these changes, subjective well-being remains “moderately stable” throughout an individual’s life. The stability of subjective well-being is attributed to fact that subjective well-being is directly correlated to personality.

Factors that impact subjective well-being

Many studies have found that subjective well-being is determined by genetics and personality. In fact, researchers have concluded that personality traits can effectively predict an individual’s subjective well-being. Temperament, as a specific component of personality, is directly associated with subjective well-being. Studies have concluded that “pleasant and unpleasant emotion” and life satisfaction relate directly to temperament. An individual’s reaction to an experience in his or her life is more important in determining subjective well-being because personality affects these reactions. Personal reactions to life’s circumstances are more important than the events themselves. An individual with a high degree of subjective well-being has a positive temperament, is optimistic, does not ruminate unreasonably over negative events, is living in an economically developed society, has social confidants, and has necessary resources to progress toward valued goals.
Other less significant factors that impact subjective well-being include genetics, marriage, employment, physical disability, situation, culture, religion and coping skills. Although objective factors may slightly affect subjective well-being, objective factors, such as having a physical disability, are factors that individuals adapt their goals and coping skills to in order to remain consistent and stable in subjective well-being. Life events and transitions occur that may temporarily deflect an individual’s well-being. But ultimately the individual adapts and goes back to the previous level of well-being. Therefore, subjective well-being remains “fairly constant” over the course of a person’s life . Those who have increased subjective well-being are healthier, less stressed, less angry and less depressed.

Considering alternatives

Lifestyle factors may influence whether a person is depressed, however, they do not directly influence subjective well-being. Studies have revealed that symptoms of depression are high in individual’s who rate themselves with lower subjective well-being. This could be related to lifestyle factors. Lifestyle factors can be adjusted to reduce depression in what has been termed as “Lifestyle medicine”. Lifestyle medicine includes adapting one’s lifestyle factors to include better choices concerning diet, exercise and the use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.
An adjustment in lifestyle factors can alleviate depressive moods. The quality of an individual’s diet is related to mood. Exercise has been found to improve mood. Relaxation techniques that includes mindfulness impacts the elevation of mood. The amount of sleep an individual gets is also directly related to mood. And, there is a strong link between mood and the use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs. If an individual has the desire to increase his or her mood, and attempts to adopt lifestyle medicine, and they have the personality and temperament required for an increased subjective well-being, the impact may be slight, but may well be worth attempting in order to gain a better perspective.

Conclusion

Although lifestyle factors have a significant impact on an individual’s morbidity, they have only a minor impact on an individual’s subjective well-being. Lifestyle factors are individual choices a person makes in daily life. These include choices of diet, exercise and the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Morbidity accesses the overall health of an individual and the individual’s susceptibility to disease. Lifestyle factors obviously correlate directly to morbidity as many of them influence several significant bodily systems including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
On the other hand, subjective well-being is an individual’s evaluation of his or her life to determine life satisfaction. Lifestyle factors have little influence on this determination. Subjective well-being is predominantly determined by personality and temperament. An individual with a high level of subjective well-being displays a positive temperament, is optimistic at almost all times, does not reflect excessively over negative events, is typically living in an economically developed society, has considerable social connections and friends, and has the means, not necessarily economic means, to move toward valued goals. Life experiences may affect subjective well-being, but studies have shown that an individual tends to adapt back to a set level. Lifestyle factors may be adjusted to raise mood and decrease morbidity, and this may be smart choices for any individual. However, changing lifestyle factors will not have any significant impact on subjective well-being.

References

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