Well-Being Interventions to Improve Societies


Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2019). Well-Being Interventions to Improve Societies. In Sachs, J., Layard, R., & Helliwell, Global Happiness Policy Report 2019: Global Happiness Council.


In recent decades evidence has accumulated showing that high well-being, or “happiness,” has beneficial outcomes. Happier people – those with high psychological and social well-being – enjoy better physical health, have better relationships, and are better citizens. At work, happy people are somewhat more productive, and are more likely to help co-workers. Based on these research results, we argue that happiness is an essential policy concern. This chapter focuses on interventions aimed at improving the well-being of individuals. We begin by describing well-being interventions and the mechanisms by which they work. Some, for instance, target changes in thinking while others focus on improved social connection. We use a case study to illustrate the ways in which multiple interventions can be bundled together and delivered digitally or in person. The second half of the chapter includes a practical guide to implementing well-being interventions. We discuss the importance of measurement, attention to cultural norms, the inclusion of didactic education, and opportunities to learn specific behavioral skills. This section concludes with a case study illustrating how stakeholders were able to improve well-being over a 5-year period. The final section of the chapter discusses how to attract participation to well-being programs, and how to insure completion of them. We also include an appendix with links to further resources. 

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