6 Underestimated Drivers of Well-Being

6 Underestimated Drivers of Well-Being

There are many obvious contributors to happiness and wellbeing.

But there are also some lesser known and under appreciated contributors to happiness and wellbeing.

What if you were more aware of the lesser known, underestimated contributors? And what, then, if you could create more happiness …

via Psychology Today by Michelle DeMarco


  • Meaning, purpose, value, connection, resilience, and transcendence are key drivers of well-being.
  • Research shows these psychospiritual forces may be critically important for decreasing risk of illness.
Denys Nevozhai/Unsplash

Source: Denys Nevozhai/Unsplash

When I was in graduate school studying world religion, philosophy, and psychology, I became intrigued by what, if anything, undergirds the world’s wisdom traditions. I had no interest in diluting them or melting them into one. I was more curious about what was beneath belief. After much research, I arrived at what I termed the Six Fundamental Human Desires. Taken together, they are what all the major traditions, each in their own way, using their own language, care about and try to make real for people’s lives.

It turns out these desires can positively affect the body and mind as much as the spirit and soul.

1. Meaning.

Meaning helps us to make sense of life and find significance in life. It satisfies our desire to have a life filled with understanding, awareness, peace, and satisfaction. Meaning helps us to see how we fit into the world, and that greatly shapes the stories we live by. Meaning gives us the sense that we, others, and certain things in life matter, which helps us to craft a rich and rewarding existence. Meaning gives us confidence that within each moment or each situation, there is something important and worthwhile that can orient us, carry us forward, and help us to be well.

Research (Bigony & Keitel, 2020) shows that meaning-making can lessen the negative effects of people adjusting to and living with chronic illnesses. Studies (Fredricksona et al., 2013) also reveal that people who believe their existence has meaning have lower levels of stress hormones and more favorable gene expression related to inflammation. Further research (Park, 2012) shows that meaning-making can positively influence the transition of cancer patients into longer-term survivorship and help people harness the will to live, which has been shown to contribute to longevity.

2. Purpose.

Purpose grounds and motivates us, unifies our life, and directs us toward some ultimate concern or “North Star” around which we shape our lives. Purpose satisfies our desire to have a reason to get up in the morning and go to bed at night feeling as though we’ve done something important or worthwhile. Purpose gives us confidence that we have “miles to go before we sleep.”

In a meta-analysis of 10 studies involving more than 136,000 people, researchers found that having purpose in life can lower your mortality risk by roughly 17 percent (Cohen et al., 2016)—about as much as following the much-celebrated Mediterranean diet. Another study (Boyle, 2012) found that if a 90-year-old with a clear purpose in life develops Alzheimer’s disease, that person will probably continue to function relatively well despite pathological changes in the brain …

… keep reading the full & original article HERE