For those of you reading our blog for the first time, our personal mandate is to share wellness ideas for everyday living. In the last month we’ve talked about ways to set goals, commit to a fitness schedule, include your kids in your active life, and improve your nutrition habits.
Today, we want to focus on psychological wellbeing. We all know that our minds and bodies are intricately connected and that when one feels good, it will influence the other. And we’ve all had days when our body and mind feel disconnected! On those days what do you do?
A. Crawl into bed and hope that tomorrow is better.
B. Cry yourself to sleep.
C. Face the demon and madly exercise it away.
D. Ponder the meaning of life.
E. Bitch and complain to your friends.
F. Drink that expensive bottle of wine you’ve been saving.
G. Other: ____________________.
All of the above are valid responses when we’re just not up to our normal zest for life! Occasionally, we all feel this way; however, if you have more of these ‘down’ days than ‘up’ days, then consider stepping back and reflecting on what’s really going on for you.
What is psychological wellbeing?
Sounds like psycho-babble! There are as many definitions to psychological wellbeing as there are people in this world. Just as each of us defines happiness differently, there are different perspectives on psychological wellness. To top that, it is not a static state but rather a moving target. As we continue to grow, we expect more and different things from ourselves and from our lives, which affects our wellbeing.
In the field of psychology, experts have also come up with a number of definitions that can help us make sense of this stuff. For us psychological wellbeing simply relates to feeling excited and energetic about our lives! Do you feel this way most of the time? We sure hope so because how you feel about yourself and your life affects you physically and influences your actions.
How do you increase psychological wellbeing?
Experts point to a number of factors that can help us assess our psychological wellbeing and therefore find ways to increase it. One of the top experts in the field, who also coined the term psychological wellbeing, is Dr. Carol Ryff. She says the following six dimensions are the foundation for experiencing positive psychological health:
- Self-acceptance – Do you have a positive attitude towards yourself? Do you acknowledge and accept both your good and bad qualities?
- Positive Relationships with Others – Do you have warm, trusting relationships with others? Are you capable of experiencing empathy, affection and intimacy? Do you understand the give and take of human relationships?
- Autonomy – Are you self-determining and independent? Are you able to resist social pressures to think and act in certain ways? Can you control your behavior from within?
- Environmental Mastery – Can you effectively manage your everyday affairs? Do you feel in control of your external world? Do you see opportunities for changing and improving the context around you to benefit your needs?
- Purpose in Life – Do you have goals in life and a sense of direction? Do you feel there is meaning in your life? Do you have beliefs that give your life purpose?
- Personal Growth – Do you feel like you are continually growing? Are you open to new experiences? Do you see improvement in yourself and your behavior over time? How well do you know yourself?
(Adapted from table found in Ryff and Keyes, 1995, p. 727)
We can all benefit from reviewing the above dimensions from time to time and asking ourselves where we stand on these. Reflection is an important part of learning and growing.
On a day to day basis, consider doing some of these simple things to enhance your psychological wellbeing:
- Remind yourself of one thing you like best about yourself.
- Laugh about one of your shortcomings.
- Call a good friend or family member who you enjoy talking with.
- Hug your kids and tell them how much you love them.
- Put yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand their perspective.
- Say ‘no’ when you really don’t want to and can’t commit to something.
- Ask for what you want.
- Take the lead on a decision that affects you.
- Make a list of the important things you need to do today and do them.
- Make wise decisions about what to get involved with.
- Commit to 20 minutes of “me” time to do what you want.
- Remind yourself of your most important goal today.
- Tell your loved ones about your hopes and dreams.
- Every morning, finish this statement, “Today, I’m excited about…”
- One day per week, do the opposite of what you might typically do, like be the first to talk at a meeting.
- Ask for feedback and learn from it.
Tell us what you think by participating in our poll.
We hope you are enjoying our blog and that you have found some good ideas and good recipes that inspire you to live well every day. If you have, we appreciate your sharing our blog with your friends and family.
References: Ryff, C., & Keyes, C. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727.)