What is Life Satisfaction? Definition + Scale

What is Life Satisfaction? Definition + Scale

Life satisfaction refers to a person’s overall appraisal and evaluation of their life, including how they feel and think about various aspects like relationships, work, health, finances, and personal fulfillment. It encompasses concepts like happiness, purpose, meaning, and peace.

Key Components of Life Satisfaction

There are a few key components that contribute to someone’s overall life satisfaction:

  • Health – Both physical and mental health play a major role in life satisfaction.
  • Financial stability – Having enough money to cover basic needs and some wants.
  • Meaningful relationships – Having strong social connections and feeling loved.
  • Personal growth – Feeling a sense of continued growth and working towards goals.
  • Purpose – Believing one’s life has meaning or makes a difference.

Benefits of High Life Satisfaction

Research shows that people with higher life satisfaction experience a variety of benefits like:

  • Better physical health
  • Improved work performance and productivity
  • More positive emotions and overall wellbeing
  • Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Healthier personal relationships
  • Longer lifespan

How to Improve Life Satisfaction

There are many ways people can work to actively boost their life satisfaction, including:

  • Focusing on developing healthy relationships
  • Finding work that feels meaningful
  • Engaging in self-care activities like exercise or meditation
  • Pursuing education and learning new skills
  • Contributing to causes bigger than oneself
  • Expressing gratitude on a daily basis

Measuring Life Satisfaction

Life satisfaction is usually measured through self-report surveys and scales. Some examples include:

  • Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) – One of the most widely used scales, with 5 statements rated on a 1-7 scale.
  • Quality of Life Scale (QOLS) – 16 questions measuring relationships, health, activities, and more on a 1-7 scale.
  • Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) – 4 questions focusing specifically on subjective happiness and life satisfaction feelings.

Life Satisfaction vs. Happiness

While related, life satisfaction and happiness are slightly different:

  • Happiness tends to refer more to shorter-term positive emotions and moods.
  • Life satisfaction encompasses longer-term, deeper feelings of contentment and meaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key factors influencing life satisfaction?

The main factors tied to life satisfaction are health, financial stability, strong relationships, sense of purpose, and personal growth or goal progress.

Does life satisfaction change over time?

Yes, studies show life satisfaction tends to follow a “U-shape” over life, with a peak in youth, dipping in middle age, and increasing again into old age.

Can you measure your own life satisfaction?

Yes, there are subjective well-being scales designed to measure an individual’s cognitive and emotional evaluation of their life satisfaction and happiness.

What are tips for improving your life satisfaction?

Tips for boosting life satisfaction include focusing on developing healthy relationships, finding meaningful work, engaging in self-care, learning new skills, contributing to causes beyond yourself, and cultivating daily gratitude.

Is life satisfaction linked to better health?

Yes, research shows people with higher than average life satisfaction tend to have better physical health, fewer chronic illnesses, improved immune function, speedier recovery, and even increased longevity.