In Theme 1 “What does well-being mean to you?”, each participant reflected on their own experiences and spoke animatedly about when they felt a sense of well-being. They expressed the following opinions.
“Well-being is a mental state. We are exposed to social networking sites on a daily basis and may feel depressed when we compare ourselves to others without even being aware of it. So how can we maintain our own pace and ensure our peace of mind?”
“Perhaps Japan is too rigid compared to the rest of the world regarding the way things have to be, such as needing to work hard for the sake of others and to keep trying. We need to be free of stereotypes and be selfish about our own feelings sometimes. It is important to be yourself in order to have a sense of well-being.”
Among the many comments, what stood out as a common thread was that everyone referred to a spiritual richness that was not physical or material. Moreover, what resonated the most was the idea of a place where one can be oneself.
“Having a place where you can be yourself may lead to well-being. When people are constrained by the framework of family, school, or work, it is hard for them when they experience a setback. If you think about it that way, you need someone who accepts you, and a third place where you can interact with people to share and resolve your problems.”
Next, in Theme 2 which considered "What can be done to improve the well-being of society as a whole?", the perspective was broadened and participants presented the following opinions.
“Society is a collection of individuals. I think we need to create a world where each diverse individual, the smallest unit that makes up society, is respected more.”
“Having a third place where people can express themselves, connect and expand with other people and society, while increasing respect for the individual. I want to provide such a place for many people including children.”
After the workshop ended, participants commented that “The experience of concentrating on the single theme of well-being was refreshing, and I was reminded of the difficulty of defining terms and of the diversity of ideas" and "It felt good to find well-being with each conversation". From their impressions, it was clear that while they found it difficult to put broad concepts into words and integrate them, the participants felt that the time spent to deepen their thoughts was stimulating.