The ability to connect and to feel a sense of belonging are basic human needs, but new research from Swansea University has examined how these are determined by more than our personal relationships.
Research by psychologist Professor Andrew Kemp of the College of Humanities and Health highlights the importance of taking a broader approach to well-being and how it can be influenced by issues such as inequality and anthropogenic climate change.
Professor Kemp worked with doctoral student Jess Mead and clinical consultant psychologist Dr Zoe Fisher, of the University’s Health and Wellbeing Academy, on the study which presents a transdisciplinary framework to help understand and improve the well-being.
Professor Kemp said: “We define well-being as a positive psychological experience, fostered by connections with oneself, the community and the environment, supported by healthy vagal function, all of which are influenced by social factors. -contextuals which are beyond the control of the individual. “
The researchers say their latest findings, which have just been published in Frontiers in Psychology, are particularly relevant as society seeks to recover and learn from Covid-19.
He said: “Our framework has already contributed to a better understanding of how to protect well-being during the pandemic and has led to the development of an innovative scientific intervention on well-being, targeting university students and individuals. living with acquired brain damage. “
Prof Kemp added, “We believe our guest article is timely because not only does it align with a post-pandemic future that requires societal transformation, but it also echoes global efforts to promote planetary well-being.
“Globalization, urbanization and technological advancements have caused humans to become increasingly disconnected from nature. This continues despite research showing that contact with nature improves well-being.”
Research reveals the health and well-being benefits of connecting with oneself, others and nature, and underscores the need for focused efforts to tackle key societal issues that affect our ability to connection.
He added: “The poorest are disproportionately affected by major societal challenges, including the growing burden of chronic disease, social loneliness and anthropogenic climate change.
“Economic inequalities have adverse effects on the whole population, not just the poor, so improving economic inequality is fundamental to improving the well-being of the population.”
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