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The cognitive component of SWB involves making judgments of one’s life: either satisfaction with life as a whole, or satisfaction with life domains such as work, family, leisure, health, and finances (Prince, & Prince 2001; Diener et al., 1999). It can be viewed as how you think about your life (in contrast to the affective component: how you feel about your life). In this study, the cognitive component means the way the elderly perceive, think and assess their life and their beliefs and attitude toward life, world and God.
Campbell (1976) suggested that individuals judge their objective situation in each of various life domains according to standards of comparison based on aspiration, expectations, feelings of what would be just, reference group comparisons, personal needs, and personal values. Domain-satisfaction provides useful information about with which aspects of life an individual may be happy or unhappy, but cannot be summed to give an overall impression of life satisfaction. This would mean that it is necessary to assess overall satisfaction with life, as well as life domains (Susan Hird, 2003).
An idea that has long captivated writers is that how we perceive and think about the world determines our SWB. In the area of SWB, researchers find that one can dampen or amplify one’s emotions by what one thinks, and thereby experience more or less intense emotions (Larsen, Diener, & Croponzano, 1987). This approach relies on the standards of the individual to determine what is the good life and the personal choices the person make at the moment (Diener, 1984).
People might increase their SWB by control of their thoughts. For example, perhaps SWB can be increased by believing in a larger meaning or force in the universe.
Support for this proposition comes from findings showing that on average religious people are happier than nonreligious people (e. g. , Ellison, 1983; Myers, 1992, cited in Diener et al. , 1997). The study explored how the elderly think about their life or what thought processes, beliefs and attitudes predominantly helped the elderly to experience a sense of well-being at this point of their lives. Affective Components (Affect Balance) It is the second component or construct of SWB, which corresponds to what we generally understand as happiness.
According to (Prince, & Prince 2001) affect is thought of as how happy or unhappy you are. It results from a balance between positive affect and negative affect (Christopher, 1999). As it has been already indicated, when we appraise how much we appreciate the life we live, we estimate our typical affective experience to assess how well we feel generally, which is referred to here in the study as affective component. In summary, the affective component can be thought of as how you feel about your life (Susan Hird, 2003).
Suh & Diener (1997) observed that feeling pleasant emotions most of the time and infrequently experiencing unpleasant emotions, even if the pleasant emotions are only mild, is sufficient for high reports of happiness. Although people report being above neutral in mood the majority of the time (Diener & Diener, 1995), intense positive moments are rare even among the happiest individuals. Instead happy people report mild-to-moderate pleasant emotions most of the time when alone or with others and when working or at leisure.
One thing is clear, that people need to understand that intense experiences are not the corer stone of a happy life (Diener, 2000). Mood and emotions are called ‘affect’, and there is contradictory evidence as to whether ‘pleasant affect’ and ‘unpleasant affect’ form two independent factors and should be measured separately, or whether they are interdependent (Diener et al. , 1999). The amount of difference between momentary pleasant and unpleasant affect is still debated, but the separability of long-term affective dimensions is less controversial.
Diener and Emmons (1984) found that unpleasant and pleasant affect become increasingly separate as the time frame is increased (Diener et al. , 1999). In the case of the institutionalized elderly, the study examined the affective component in general, mainly how they felt generally about their lives that helped them experiencing a sense of well-being in their lives. As indicated by Christopher (1999), it is this second aspect of SWB that corresponds to what we generally understand as happiness and it results from a balance between positive affect and negative affect.
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