What is wellbeing and why does it matter?

What influence does wellbeing have on our lives, our children and our work?

And is your wellbeing enabling you to reach your potential?

Denise talks to Dr Lucy Hone about the importance of knowing the tools, strategies and barriers to psychological fitness.



Dr Lucy Hone is a Director of NZIWR™, researches and publishes on measurement and promotion of population wellbeing. She is a research associate at AUT University and writes for PsychologyTodayand The Sunday Star Times. Lucy is a best-selling author, a member of the NZAPP executive committee and a policy advisor for Canterbury’s Alright? campaign.


The lowdown

In this interview, Lucy discusses what factors are critical for life satisfaction, different models of wellbeing and offers practical tips for boosting our mental fitness. Our level of wellbeing impacts all areas of our lives, including our ability to learn and perform. The good news is that we can learn to manage and boost our own happiness.

While there are multiple ways to conceptualise and measure wellbeing, Felicia Huppert’s definition ‘feeling good and functioning well’ provides a succinct definition of what wellbeing is. Our psychological wellbeing includes but goes well beyond the physical components of health, such as eating, sleeping and moving well.

Individuals high in wellbeing are physically healthier, less stressed, are more productive at work and take less time off. There is clear evidence that higher levels of psychological wellbeing benefit not just the individual, but their families, communities and society on the whole.

Strategies for increasing wellbeing are numerous. A great place to start in our everyday lives is learning about strengths and positive emotions. Knowing our strengths, using a strengths-based approach to all areas of life, and learning to play to our strengths is one path to higher levels of psychological wellbeing. Increasing and harnessing the range of positive emotions we experience broadens our outlook, increases creativity and makes for better problem-solving.

Wellbeing literacy, like academic literacy, is an essential life skill. Understanding the tools, strategies and barriers of our own wellbeing means we are able to go out into the world feeling good and functioning well. Having wellbeing literacy means that individuals have a ‘toolkit’ which they can draw on throughout their lives as needed.

Models of wellbeing are helpful to have as a ‘go-to’ list of what works for wellbeing. Providing the key strategies which people can use to build their wellbeing, models such as PERMA -V, the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and Te Whare Tapa Whā are great places to start.


Additional resources

You can follow the NZIWR facebook page for new resources: https://www.facebook.com/NZIWR/

Watch Lucy’s presentation on promoting wellbeing in schools: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYVIQho-45k

Read more about wellbeing in schools: https://nziwr.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/From-surviving-to-thriving-1.pdf

Find out more about the 5 Ways to Wellbeing: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/home/ways-to-wellbeing/

Learn more about the Te Whare Tapa Whā: