What’s a Psychologically Wealthy Life? – Optimistic Psychology Information

How does journey match into a great life?

One of many joys of the Worldwide Optimistic Psychology Affiliation (IPPA) World Congress is assembly individuals whose experiences and factors of view are very totally different from my very own, individuals coming from all around the world to share time and knowledge.

For an excessive case, I met Martin Frey, a person who has lived a lifetime of excessive journey, very totally different from the stay-at-home years I’ve skilled following COVID.  Martin is a world traveler who has climbed the 7 peaks and sailed the 7 seas.  How does his seek for excessive challenges relate to his well-being? What does that imply for me?

Journey isn’t all the time a supply of constructive emotion.  In actual fact, probably the most memorable adventures contain moments of uncertainty and issue that may be extremely disagreeable on the time. 

Swan on its nest

My husband and I took a visit to southern England a few years in the past.  As a substitute of driving one bus well past our vacation spot and one other bus again on a special highway, we obtained off the primary bus between cities to stroll what gave the impression to be on to the 600-year-old Abbotsbury swannery. We thought erroneously that we might learn the general public proper of manner footpath markings on our map. By the point we realized we had been misplaced and trespassing, it had began to rain closely. I vividly bear in mind discovering a hoop of standing stones that was not marked on the map.  The expertise of being misplaced within the tall grass on a farmer’s fields left a strong impression behind, way more vivid than different extra nice walks.

Journey isn’t essentially significant.  In what manner did our journey throughout fields or Martin’s ascent of Mount Everest contribute to the better good?  

Enter an Further Side of Nicely-being

Since Aristotle, individuals have talked about two sorts of well-being:  hedonic which means happiness and eudaimonic which means significant. If journey doesn’t carry quick happiness and isn’t essentially significant, can or not it’s a part of a well-lived life?

Dr. Shigehiro Oishi

That’s the place Shigehiro Oishi’s work is available in.  Through the convention, Dr. Oishi gave a keynote on what he considers a uncared for facet of well-being: residing a psychologically wealthy life.  He illustrated his idea with tales about individuals residing extremely adventurous lives and others experiencing moments of ineffable magnificence.  Exploring psychological richness has been the middle of his analysis for a number of years.

What’s a psychologically wealthy life?

Psychologically wealthy lives are fascinating, eventful, and infrequently dramatic.  They contain large adjustments in perspective and ongoing studying.  Detrimental feelings that are inclined to lower happiness and which means usually add to psychological richness. The expertise of being misplaced and drenched made me assume in a different way about property rights and maybe made me extra tolerant of people that arrive someplace wanting very bedraggled. The expertise has enhanced my sense of non-public company.  I bear in mind it with a way of, “Sure, I can address issues going unsuitable.”

How is the psychological richness of a life studied?

Oishi and workforce created a 17-element questionnaire that they’ve used to discover the diploma to which an individual experiences a psychologically wealthy life. Listed here are just a few of the questions from his survey:

  • I’ve lots of private tales to inform others.

  • On my deathbed, I’m prone to say “I had an fascinating life.”

  • My life would make a great novel or film.

In research utilizing this questionnaire throughout very totally different populations, Oishi and workforce discovered that psychological richness is expounded to happiness and which means, however it’s nonetheless distinct and has totally different predictors. The predictors of psychological richness are openness to expertise, extraversion, and decrease ranges of neuroticism. A nontrivial portion of the individuals they studied would select a psychologically wealthy life even on the expense of happiness and which means.  In Oishi’s view, a lifetime of psychologically wealthy experiences results in knowledge.

In different research, Dr. Oishi had researchers code obituaries within the New York Occasions and different papers.  They detected happiness based mostly on phrases like pleased, safe, snug, and nice. They detected which means based mostly on phrases like fulfilling, sense of objective, and devotion.  They detected psychological richness based mostly on phrases like fascinating, eventful, and dramatic.  In these research, psychological richness and happiness had been negatively correlated:  the extra psychologically wealthy phrases, the less happiness phrases confirmed up within the obituary.  That means and psychological richness weren’t correlated somehow.

Can a life be psychologically wealthy with out being adventurous?

Sure.  There are lots of methods to expertise adjustments in perspective that don’t contain journey and going through private hazard.  Dr. Oishi talked about examine overseas, studying literary fiction, and listening to another person inform tales.

Taking Inventory

I don’t really feel like a very courageous or adventurous individual, however I take heed to the tales of mates and relations and infrequently have my perspective modified.  Listed here are some examples.

My mom traveled all around the world with a great buddy who wrote down their adventures. How had been two little outdated girls handled in numerous cultures in Mongolia, Peru, Afghanistan, Australia, and Botswana?  In a single city in Syria, an entire cavalcade of males led them to their lodge when my mom’s buddy obtained out of the automobile to ask for instructions.

I’ve interviewed my cousins about their lives rising up on a ranch in southern Idaho, childhood experiences very totally different from my very own. Think about a 5-year-old woman steadily getting on a horse within the morning with a packed lunch and driving round by herself till the supper bell rang.

The Ocelot

Sue Hacking, one in every of my school roommates, has lived on her catamaran Ocelot together with her household for greater than 20 years, touring many of the 7 seas.  Once I hear from her, I find out about avoiding pirates and surviving harsh climate. I additionally observe her curiosity in the way in which totally different individuals reside.
Throughout COVID, her tales of lock down concerned life in dock within the Philippines. I drove 15 miles to get my first Moderna vaccine. Sue and her husband traveled by prepare and airplane to the opposite finish of the Philippines to get theirs.

Ocelot in Tonga, Sue in cockpit

It helps my creativeness that I spent 10 days on Ocelot again in 2004 close to Bora Bora. My go to was principally nice and calm. Snorkeling was new to me.

Sue’s most up-to-date journey concerned driving a van down the west coast of South America to Patagonia.  On the way in which again, the van broke down.  They discovered a farm the place they may keep and work for the three months it took for components to reach. They’re solely simply again on the highway.

I plan to take heed to tales like these much more intently. What a chance to have a psychologically wealthy life vicariously.

I additionally understand that journey can imply greater than the bodily challenges of touring, climbing mountains, and crusing seas. A number of years in the past, I had an unexpected conversation within the Nationwide Museum of African-American Historical past and Tradition that ranks as one in every of my life adventures.

Lastly, my husband and I are adventurous readers, letting our curiosity carry us to subjects starting from particle physics and developmental biology to historical historical past and geography. Absolutely mental exploration is one other pathway to psychological richness.

Need Extra?

I’m attending an occasion on the finish of October at which Dr. Oishi will likely be a plenary speaker. For those who submit your questions within the feedback, I’ll attempt to get them answered.


Oishi, S., Choi, H., Buttrick, N. et al (2019).  The psychologically rich life questionnaire.  Journal of Analysis in Persona, 81, 257-270.

Oishi, S. & Westgate, E. (2021).  A psychologically rich life:  Beyond meaning and happiness.  Psychological Assessment, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rev0000317

For extra about Oishi’s work, go to website for the Oishi Lab.

Hacking, Sue & Jon. The Hacking Family: Cruising the world on s/v Ocelot. “We’ve been on this journey since 2001, crusing from the Caribbean via the Panama Canal, throughout the South Pacific and the Indian Ocea to Africa, then again to Asia and the South Pacific. There’s a lot world to see!” The location has cruising info for sailors, footage and identification of underwater life, and tales of their varied journeys written as they went alongside. My journey with them begins here.

Britton, Okay. H. (2020). Black lives matter. What can I do about it? LinkedIn article. The story talked about above comes on the finish of the article, however the entire article is about altering views.

Picture Credit

Swan Nest photo by Vincent Keiman on Unsplash

Ocelot images together with featured image of Kathryn’s first snorkeling journey courtesy of Jon and Sue Hacking.