The Well-Being Journal

Optimism in America

Jennifer Rudloff

We’re all evaluated at one point or another in our lives. Whether it’s on tests we take or projects and presentations we create, evaluation is a constant part of our lives. Sometimes, though, we fail to stop and evaluate one of the most important things — life.

There are many important questions we must stop and ask ourselves about our own well-being in life, like: How are we doing in our relationships? How is our health? Are we living our lives to their fullest potential? By evaluating these areas and improving just one area of our lives, we can prompt improvements in other areas as well.

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® (WBI), when Americans evaluate life, 54% classify themselves as thriving. The Cantril Scale asks those surveyed to imagine a "ladder" with steps numbered 0 (worst possible life) to 10 (best possible life). The "thriving" group (steps 7-10 on Cantril Scale) indicates that they expect to stand on step 8 or higher five years from now. An important takeaway here is that over half of Americans, when reflecting on their present and future lives, see themselves as “thriving.”

So while work environment, basic access and all areas of health remain subpar, life evaluation sits higher and generally steadier per the WBI. Regardless of the economy and other events happening between 2008 and 2011, a majority of Americans still remain optimistic about their future.

Reader Question: What makes you most optimistic about the future?

Topics: Re-election Health Well-Being Index Optimism Total Well-Being wellbeing health wellbeing and health Internal Reflection