Health, Well-Being, Quality of Life, Wellness, Happiness

Are these the same thing – or slightly different?  On our site we tend to group them together – it’s helping people we want to focus on.  Here we give you some basic information on how these things can differ – read on if you’re interested!

The World Health Organisation policy framework

Before WWII, health meant not being ill. In 1948 the World Health Organisation (WHO) proposed a definition that viewed health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity” (WHO, 1948).

In the WHO’s policy framework ‘Health 2020’ health and mental health are affected by well-being, which can be considered and measured in a number of different ways.  Organisations are trying to develop ‘life satisfaction’ as a common currency!

Scroll down for LOTS of statistics about how healthy we are (in England).

Then there’s happiness. Although this isn’t quite the same as health, it’s clearly a key component, especially as we start to look at well-being etc. We should consider happiness as part of our definition, and see how these things all fit together.

There are many ways of looking at health or well-being, and four slightly different views are shown below, along with sources and definitions (just click on the word), and the disciplines they arose from. Don’t worry if this seems a bit technical – I guess the point is that health, or well-being, or wellness, or quality of life, all have slightly different histories and slants.  And happiness, which has its own components and measures, and which is measured around the world. And prosperity, which also has its own worldwide index.

We think they’re all relevant and we don’t really differentiate!

This focusses on pleasure and happiness, and the most popular model is ‘Subjective Well-being’


Psychology and sociology disciplines

This suggests that psychological health is by fulfilling your potential and realising your true nature


Psychology and sociology disciplines

This relates also to physical health, social relationships and independence as well as psychology


Medical disciplines

This is a more holistic approach, including spirituality, personality, as well as maximising potential.


Counselling disciplines

Check out the video here which compares these two forms of well-being and happiness.  Basically the first involves enjoying yourself and avoiding unpleasant emotions. The second is about personal growth and looks at wider issues.

Interestingly both versions were ‘defined’ by Greek philosophers thousands of years ago!

Wellness is quite a well defined concept, and there seem to be a number of different dimensions involved. The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association have a good video which describes the eight dimensions of wellness.

Quality of life is abigger picture looking at what’s important. and the Organisation for Economic Growth and Development (OECD) have a video which shows how this varies round the world.


Digging around in the Oxford dictionary shows us that: happiness is the state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. So it’s not permanent – it’s a state. Also it’s not as intense as joy or ecstasy and can be internal or external (feeling or showing).

You can track your own happiness with Hugo or download the world happiness report below.  The video uses rodents to make a point.


Legatum rank 169 countries around the world, covering 99.4% of the world’s population. Almost 300 indicators are used to measure the current prosperity and how this changes by year.

You can look at the site or download their report for the UK below.

Office of National Statistics Measuring National Well-being Programme

Personal well-being is part of the international Measuring National Well-being (MNW) programme, which looks at subjective measures as well as income and health.

It uses the 4 questions below (ONS4) which were first added to the Annual Population survey in April 2011.

Table 1: Four measures of personal well-being

Next I would like to ask you four questions about your feelings on aspects of your life. There are no right or wrong answers. For each of these questions I’d like you to give an answer on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “not at all” and 10 is “completely”.
Measure   Question
Life Satisfaction      Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
Worthwhile      Overall, to what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
Happiness      Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
Anxiety      On a scale where 0 is “not at all anxious” and 10 is “completely anxious”, overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?
Source: Office for National Statistics
ONS national wellbeing survey

Personal and economic well-being

The ONS issued a report combining this with economic data in February 2020 for Q3 2019 – you can download it.

1.p.p refers to percentage point change.

2.“Compared with last year” refers to Q3 (Jul to Sep) 2019 compared with Q3 (Jul to Sep) 2018.

3.“Change in aggregate balance compared with last year” refers to Sep 2019 compared with Sep 2018.

4.“Compared with previous year” refers to 2018 to 2019 compared with 2017 to 2018.

5. “In the year to Q3 (July to Sept 2019)” refers to Quarter 3 (July to Sept 2019) compared to Quarter 3 (July to Sept 2018).

Life in England

This information combines personal well-being information with information on community, volunteering and social cohesion  from the Community Life Survey 2018-19.  Hover over a chart for more information.


At YouDriveHealth we can provide you with information, tools, calculators and also support for may aspects of health – physical, financial and mental.  If you register by entering your email address then when you sign in you can comment and contribute.

©  YouDriveHealth Limited 2022

See Terms of Service

See Privacy Policy and Cookies 

See Comment Moderation policy 

Website : YouDriveHealth Limited

A Butterfly Life: 4 Keys to More Happiness, Better Health and Letting Your True Self Shine

Times of change can be a challenge, no doubt! Whether it’s a relationship breakup, job loss, or being diagnosed with a serious health issue. Or you may WANT things to be different, but it feels a little scary or overwhelming. The butterfly reminds us change can be beautiful, even necessary, in order to realize our full potential and live our best life.