Enhancing Well Being in High Net Worth Families

Ask a patriarch or matriarch of a family what they wish for and they will likely say a happy and healthy family. A deeper conversation may focus around wanting children to be successful, without any clarity of how success is defined. A parent may also say that they themselves are only as happy as their least happy child. We throw words around like success and happiness to cover a broad range of emotions, aspirations and values, Perhaps the scientific research within the science of positive psychology can shed some light by focusing happiness around the concept of wellbeing.

Positive psychology is now a well-researched science that has been developed over the past 20 years or so. Some of the leading lights in this science are Professor Martin Seligman known as the father of Positive Psychology (author of books such as Flourish and Authentic Happiness), Professor Mihaly Csiksentmihayli (author of books such as Flow and Creativity), Barbara Frederickson (author of Positivity) and Sonja Lyubormirsky (author of The How of Happiness). There are many others such as Robert Biswas-Diener, continually adding to the breadth and depth of the understanding of the science and focused on the study of happiness and wellbeing.

Understanding and applying the science of positive psychology can certainly enhance one’s wellbeing. Through the research of many including, Professor Edward Diener (known as the father of happiness research) and Professor Richard Layard enhancing wellbeing has scientifically been proven to yield benefits such as better collaborative skills among family members, more effective relationship building skills for example between family members, better communication skills within the family or better health for a longer more durable family unit.

So, what is wellbeing and why the benefits and if so relevant why wouldn’t any family want to focus on the family and individual family members’ wellbeing? These are all great questions to ask, let me provide some answers.

Does a focus on wellbeing really work? Of course it does.

At its core positive psychology focuses on why people flourish rather than what is wrong with people. A simplistic approach would be to understand that the following are important to enhance wellbeing:

  • managing emotions and developing positive ones,
  • developing deeper relationships,
  • being engaged and present in what one does, with one’s family and life in general,
  • having a sense of purpose or meaning,
  • focusing on achievements and
  • building health and vitality.

However more recently the science of positive psychology has matured to also cover topics such as resilience, grit, courage, self-compassion and many other emerging and relevant topics around how one flourishes or thrives.

The benefits from applying positive psychology are profound and are a valid reason to link enhancing wellbeing to securing a family’s legacy. When there is a focus on enhancing wellbeing, trust within the family is improved as the skills to build and deepen relationships develop, communication is more effective, families can become more resilient to mitigate the stress from setbacks, family members collaborate more effectively, longevity is increased by experiencing better health, emotions and behavior are conducted in a positive manner and families can thrive.

Does a focus on enhancing wellbeing really work? Of course, it does. There exists scientifically proven research and there are millions who are benefiting. It is an investment and does require time and a mindset to want to enhance your wellbeing. Perhaps a matriarch or patriarch of the family can set the tone and lead by example. To some, wellbeing is how your mind, body and soul are constantly feeling good, a sense of sustained happiness in your life. It is not the fleeting happiness of a nice meal but a combination of hedonistic and eudemonic experiences. Simply put, it can be the ability to experience pleasure and purpose in life emanating from pursing passions.

Across the globe, countries are measuring wellbeing, companies are adopting programs and now is the time for families to consider how a family unit can benefit immensely.

So, the next time a family member wishes for success or happiness for the family or family members, reflect on what this may mean and why focusing on enhancing wellbeing may be the route to accomplish family aspirations which may go quite some way toward protecting a family’s legacy.

Allow the Spencer Legacy Group to help your family overcome the issues that might sabotage your success. When it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room, give us a call at 1-800-694-0059, or find us online at www.spencerlegacygroup.com.

Dr. Andrew S. Kane