Autonomy refers to the amount of control you feel you have over your life. Autonomy is defined as ‘the feeling that your life—its activities and habits—are self-chosen and self-endorsed’. How much of your life are you in control of? How much are you able to change?
In terms of happiness, autonomy is a huge factor – one of the biggest. Autonomy might be everyone’s favourite goal to reach. How often do we wonder about a time when we don’t have to go to work, or we don’t have to do a supposed thing in a supposed way? We would love to win the lottery so that we are free to do anything.
Researcher Angus Campbell emphatically talks about the perks of autonomy. “Having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of well-being than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered,” says Campbell.
When you are upset about something in your life be it jobs stress, your weight issues, or a simple break-up, it’s usually because you are feeling as if you are no longer in control of this area of life and lacking autonomy. People who feel they have autonomy over their life show a more positive future time perspective, are more trusted towards others and less prone to conflict thinking. (Spruyt et al, 2018)
The freedom to do and achieve whatever in pursuit of whatever goals or values a person considers important, gives the person overall life satisfaction, a dimension of psychological well-being.
Thus, it is important to exert more control over your lives. Decide what’s best for yourself. Prioritize your goals and yourself.