Why Life Satisfaction Is Important for Your Health and Well-Being
Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash
Written by: Sabrina Sourjah
Date Updated: 9/13/2021
Reviewed by: Patrick D. Randolph, Ph.D.
For a moment, imagine that you’re on your deathbed. Your breath is fading in and out, and so is your vision. Everything you have done (or not done) so far does not matter anymore because you will be gone in a few seconds.
What will you think about as you leave this earth? Would you be satisfied with your life, or would you die with regrets?
What we want most from life is to be satisfied with it. But living a life of meaning and vitality can be challenging because of the numerous distractions we face daily.
Happiness is not a goal… it’s a by-product of a life well-lived.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Definition of Life Satisfaction
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines life satisfaction as “the extent to which a person finds life rich, meaningful, full, or of high quality.” It is important to note that life satisfaction is one’s perception of their life.
Medical professionals use quantitative measures to determine one’s satisfaction with life. Life satisfaction is also called quality of life.
What Determines Life Satisfaction?
According to most life satisfaction scales, the following factors determine the level of life satisfaction:
- Physical, emotional, and mental well-being
- Satisfaction from interpersonal relationships
- Opportunities to develop skills and strengths
- Ability to make choices about one’s life
- Level of participation in society and community-building
- Possibility of advancing professionally
- Financial status and future potential
Examples of Life Satisfaction
You may be highly satisfied with your life if one or more of the following conditions apply to you:
- You’re fully engaged with the work you do for a living
- You live your life in harmony with your values
- You’re involved with a passion project or cause that you strongly care about
- You are proud of the life you have lived so far
- Your overall health is positive, and you have no serious health concerns
- Your kids and spouse bring you tremendous joy
Importance of Life Satisfaction
1. Overall Health
According to research, people with high life satisfaction have a 25% reduced risk of physical functioning limitations and a 12% decrease in risk of chronic pain. In addition, people who are more satisfied with life tend to be physically active and have fewer sleep problems. As exercise and sleep are vital to overall health, they will also have access to better health conditions.
2. Surgery Outcomes
Immunity is key to healing faster after surgery. Researchers have determined that happiness and satisfaction can boost your immune system. Therefore, those with high life satisfaction will likely have better surgical outcomes. A study on postoperative satisfaction with cosmetic surgery also confirms this outcome. Postoperative satisfaction of these patients was significantly related to self-esteem and life satisfaction.
3. Mental Health
High satisfaction with life leads to improved psychological well-being, with mood stability, positive thoughts, optimism, and a clear purpose in life. When people are satisfied with life, they will feel less lonely and hopeless. As per research studies, a 46% reduction in the risk of depression has been witnessed by people with high life satisfaction.
Another study found that people who self-reported poor mental health had lower life satisfaction. For instance, those who reported their mental health as fair were 2.35 times more likely to have higher life satisfaction.
Researchers have found that individuals with high life satisfaction have a 26% reduced risk of mortality. This is not surprising given the positive correlations between life satisfaction and overall health.
Life satisfaction is the goal of a well-lived life. Therefore, it’s important to figure out how you can increase your level of life satisfaction and take action to become more satisfied with your life.
If you have uncontrollable health conditions that can hinder your life satisfaction, you can still look at other controllable variables that can contribute to your happiness.