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It is widely agreed that well-being is the ultimate goal or at least a primary aim of policy, but what do we know about how to increase well-being? A large body of evidence has accumulated about many and diverse skills and processes that lead to greater subjective well-being. This chapter explores the idea that two mental practices might underlie well-being, and many of the specific skills that form the backbone of positive psychology and other well-being interventions. They are mindfulness and compassion, which are increasingly being used as secular interventions. Evidence from behavioural and neuroscience investigations broadly supports the theoretical accounts of their mode of action. The chapter concludes that not only is there strong and growing evidence of the well-being benefits of mindfulness and compassion training, but that the skills and processes they engender are so fundamental, that learning them is likely to magnify the benefits of other programs designed to enhance well-being.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Book Chapter

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