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Main Dictionary Q

Quality of Life

Quality of life — is a subjective measure of happiness and general life satisfaction that has an impact on different spheres of a person’s life, including financial well-being. However, quality of life is considered to be a non-financial measure, unlike standard of living. There are some general factors that collectively represent the person’s quality of life. They may vary from person to person according to their preferences. Examples of the most popular factors are health, safety, financial wealth, professional implementation, loving relationships, etc. All of these factors are interrelated and might influence each other as well as the quality of life itself. In this article, we’ll focus mostly on job-related factors and their influence on people’s quality of life.

Let’s start with a few small examples in order to demonstrate this influence. Suppose a person is in a serious need of money and try to save as much as possible at the expense of individual physical and mental health. The difficult financial condition and strategy chosen to solve it put certain limits on the person’s life, thereby significantly lowering his or her quality of life. In contrast, if a person doesn’t have any financial problems, there is a possibility of stretching the budget for some extra needs and desires, which might make the person’s life more calm, fulfilled, and generally better. These examples clearly show that our financial well-being is strongly correlated with quality of life.

According to the quality of life index, Switzerland, Denmark, and Netherlands top the list of countries with a high quality of life. This information is relevant for 2022. All these countries can be characterized by the stable economy, developed and affordable medical and educational systems, income equality, etc. 

Clarification of the term

We have to clarify that despite the fact that quality of life is related to financial well-being, it’s not limited to this factor. More importantly, it represents a personal perception and understanding of wealth and happiness, therefore it’s hardly measured by some quantitative methods. Qualitative analysis will be more suitable for this type of research. That is one of the differences between quality of life and standard of living. The latter is a closely related term that measures people’s life conditions according to some exact metrics, like household income or availability of necessities.

Let’s illustrate the difference between these terms more clearly by the following examples. If we are aimed at measuring a person’s standard of living, we’ll take attention to his or her job salary and total amount of money the person has earned for a specified period of time (e.g., a year or month). If we measure the person’s quality of life, we’ll have to ask the opinion directly (with the help of a specific questionnaire or an interview), because it’s up to the person to define it. So, we won’t ask the person about the salary, but rather ask about his or her satisfaction with this money.

Another example might bring even more clarity to the understanding of the term “quality of life”. A person earning $51,000 per year might have a higher quality of life than a person earning $70,000 per year. Seemingly, it should be vice versa, but there are a few more details that we have to consider. The first person earns less money, but spends less time at work. $51,000 is enough for him or her to cover all the needed expenses and even put some money into savings. The other person earns more, but spends more time at work, which makes him or her stressed, irritated, and tired. Consequently, the second person earns more, but isn’t satisfied with the job. As you can see, quality of life is related to the financial aspect of the person’s job and life in general, but it’s not about the money itself.

Job-related factors of Quality of Life

As was mentioned before, quality of life is a personal measure of happiness and might include different factors. However, these factors can be divided into to large groups – general factors and individual ones.

The first group consists of some necessities that are more or less essential for any person. For example, it might be the availability of clean water, healthy food, medical care, and so on. The other group is more individual and depends on the person. We’ll consider these factors more particularly and pay attention to some of them that are related to a job.

Commuting, or the time and money you spend on your way to work and back home, is an important factor of quality of life because this question is up to workers. Are they ready to put up with time wasted in traffic? Do they have other options? How much money do they spend on commuting expenses, and does their earnings cover these expenses? We have to understand, that different people will answer these questions differently, therefore this factor will have different influence on their quality of life. For somebody living far away from work won’t be a problem because of cheaper living conditions or other reasons, but someone else’s quality of life might get lower due to the commuting. 

Living conditions, or territorial location of a person’s property specifically. This factor correlates with the previous one. Some people might be comfortable living in sleeping areas, while others don’t because they stay away from cultural activities and other bonuses of life in downtown.

Working conditions. We’re talking not only about the workplace, working hours and working culture, but also about the harm that some jobs can cause people (e.g., physical injuries or high amount of stress). Some harmful jobs might be paid higher than others, but they also have certain downsides.

Work-life balance. Basically, this factor represents how much time a person spends for work and recreational activities. If work takes a significant amount of time, it will decrease quality of life. Vice versa, if work-life balance is provided, then quality of life will increase.

Quality of Life improvement

First and foremost, you have to define what is a high quality of life for you in order to progressively improve it. Although there are some general factors that typically increase people’s quality of life, there is no universal receipt for everybody. This metric is all about your own opinion and experience.

When you create a vision of a better life, define some areas that are under your control and try to improve them gradually. Usually, quality of life starts to raise when people stabilize their work-life balance, support a healthy diet, take care of a good night sleep, and do sport. Some studies also show the effectiveness of mindfulness techniques, meditations, and gratitude practices in increasing people’s quality of life.

Governments can improve the citizens’ quality of life as well. There are a lot of ways to do this, e.g., by funding education and medicine or developing social support programs. The real examples of these improvements and their effectiveness are countries with high rates of quality of life, such as Switzerland or Denmark.

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