Before we have a look at wellbeing in sport, let’s have a look at what is wellbeing? Defining wellbeing is complex and an area that continues to evolve. Following are some surface definitions of wellbeing from a variety of sources:

Then, the following definitions go a little deeper in to what is wellbeing, including –

  • Subjective Well-Being (SWB) was defined by Deiner (2009) as the general evaluation of one’s quality of life. The concept has been conceptualized as the three components: (1) a cognitive appraisal that one’s life was good (life satisfaction); (2) experiencing positive levels of pleasant emotions; (3) experiencing relatively low levels of negative moods (Deiner, 2009).
  • “Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community” ~ World Health Organisation
  • “Well-being is more than just happiness. As well as feeling satisfied and happy, well-being means developing as a person, being fulfilled, and making a contribution to the community” ~ Shah and Marks (2004).
  • Headey and Wearing’s (1992) indicate that wellbeing is shown “as depending on prior equilibrium levels of wellbeing and of life events, and also on recent events.
  • Dodge et al (2012) – “as the balance point between an individual’s resource pool and the challenges faced”. This is shown in the following diagram – 


What is Wellbeing in Sport?

We know that sport can help cultivate wellbeing on many levels, including mentally, socially and physically. This can be done specifically by –

  • Mental well-being – i.e. focus, concentration,
  • Physical well-being – for example cardiovascular and respiratory functioning, and
  • Socially – develop relationships that can foster a sense of belonging.

However, sport can also impact these aspects of wellbeing through –

  • Mental well-being – excessive pressure, expectations and/or burnout,
  • Physical well-being – when ill, injured or overtraining, and
  • Socially – unsupportive practises (i.e. conflict, bullying etc.). 


Looking at Sport and Wellbeing Holistically

Basically every aspect of your life influences your wellbeing (which in turn can influence your sport). Researchers investigating happiness and wellbeing, have found the following factors can enhance an individuals wellbeing –

  • an enjoyable and fulfilling career,
  • adequate money,
  • regular exercise,
  • a balanced diet (food and water),
  • sufficient sleep,
  • an intimate relationship with a partner,
  • a network of close friends,
  • a sense of belonging,
  • the ability to adapt to change,
  • a safe physical environment (home and environment),
  • a sense of purpose and meaning, and remember
  • all of the above factors are interrelated.

Do you think those things are important? If so, how are you cultivating them in your life?


Over to You…

What Does Wellbeing Mean to You? How does it relate to your sport? Does it include your –

  • relationships (social),
  • emotions (emotional),
  • body (physical),
  • thoughts (mental),
  • finances (financial),
  • living environment (environmental),
  • spirit (spiritual)?

I would be interested to hear what wellbeing means to you, so feel free to comment below! When you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and living whole-heartedly (i.e. across sport and life)you are also welcome tjoin our newsletter here


References –

Diener, E. (2009). Subjective well-being. The Science of Well-Being, 11-58. Dodge, R., Daly, A., Huyton, J., & Sanders, L. (2012). The challenge of defining wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing2(3), 222-235. 

Headey, B. W., & Wearing, A. J. (1992). Understanding happiness: A theory of subjective well-being. Melbourne, Australia: Longman Cheshire. 

Shah, H., & Marks, N. (2004). A well-being manifesto for a flourishing society. London: The New Economics Foundation.


Website Page Reference –

Thanks in advance for honouring my work 🙂 The reference is as follows…

Taylor, J. (2022) What is Wellbeing? [WWW] Available from: [Accessed …….. ]


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