What is wellbeing?

It can mean different things to different people

The word wellbeing is used all over schools, colleges and workplaces, but it can mean different things to people. The SHARP project wants to help all young people have their own understanding of wellbeing and assist them in building their own strengths to cope better with difficult or challenging times.



We asked some students – “What does wellbeing mean to you?”


Wellbeing is much more complex than how we feel at any given time. It does include happiness, but it also includes other things, such as how we feel generally day to day, what drives us, and our purpose in life.


Our sense of wellbeing is also an indicator of how in control (or not) we feel of our own lives.


Positive wellbeing is something we all strive towards. People believe it is a key part of a healthy nation – In schools, families, workplaces and among friends.


We may sometimes hear others talking about “wellbeing outcomes” and this is seen as a measurement by parents, teachers, businesses and even the government to try and understand how happy and healthy people are, so that they can provide new or different ways to improve lives.


Sometimes, organisations will carry out surveys to try and get a picture of how people feel so that they can measure wellbeing. One example is the NHS in Scotland who created 14 questions for people to answer about their own wellbeing. These questions included statements such as:


  • ‘I’ve been feeling optimistic about the future’
  • ‘I’ve been thinking clearly’
  • ‘I’ve been interested in new things’.


By indicating how you felt, the NHS could then give your wellbeing a score to help them see a big picture of how people felt overall – The higher your score, the more positive your wellbeing was. There are lots of other examples of this.

So we invite you to stop for a moment and ask yourself three questions…


  1. What does the word wellbeing mean to me?
  2. How would I describe my own wellbeing right now?
  3. What could I do to improve my wellbeing?

This really short exercise may help you to start focusing more on your own wellbeing and give you a better idea of how you feel and the things you want to do to improve your wellbeing overall.


By doing this, we are starting to build resilience – Visit the ‘What is Resilience?’ page to learn more…