What is psychological well-being about?

psychological wellbeing practitioner

What is psychological well-being? In other words, what constitutes positive psychological functioning? If we ask, “Are you happy? “Or “are you unhappy? “We often get an awareness of emotional states and a feeling of satisfaction. However, that does not give any idea of what causes this well-being or what is consisting of.

1. The concept of psychological well-being

The concept of psychological well-being is one of the most prominent signs of an individual’s mental health. A feeling of inner happiness, peace, and tolerance towards oneself, giving it the right amount, and the ability to take advantage of daily positive experiences effectively. Psychological well-being is a feeling of inner tranquility and reassurance. It opens up new possibilities for the individual to acquire different experiences and knowledge and increase the level of awareness and stability according to these experiences and knowledge.

Psychological well-being includes a set of sensations that refer to the way we judge our life on a general level. Furthermore, it is not necessarily linked to living pleasant situations or satisfying our personal desires because this would be something temporary. It concerns a set of larger dimensions.

2. The six key dimensions of psychological well-being

To make the concept of well-being more operational and useful for research, it must be possible to measure it. Researcher Carol D. Ryff, therefore, constructed a questionnaire, “the Ryff psychological well-being scale” (Ryff, 1989, 1995), based on six key dimensions:

2.1 Self-acceptance

This dimension speaks of the acceptance of all aspects of our person and of the past as it was, without falling into the clutches of impotence because of our will to modify or intervene in something already produced.

Tell yourself that if you accept your body, your emotions, and your thoughts, you will have a much more positive view of yourself. On the other hand, if you have low self-esteem and find it difficult to accept yourself, this dissatisfaction may make you feel so lost that you don’t know where to start to change those aspects.

2.2 Positive relationships with others

It’s warm, confident, knowing how to bond, being close and empathetic towards others, being selfless, and knowing how to give and take.

2.3 Independence

This dimension values the independence of people in different phases of their lives. It is about the feeling of being able to choose and make your own decisions, having your own criteria, personal and emotional independence, even if others disagree.

A high degree of independence means that you are able to show greater strength in resisting social pressure and your own urges. If, on the other hand, you are not very independent, you may allow others’ opinions to guide you. And if you will pay attention to what others say or think of you, you will allow pressure to carry you.

2.4 Personal development

It is to be continuously open to new experiences in order to get to know each other better and improve its effectiveness. Realize your potential.

2.5 Control of what surrounds us

This refers to the ability to cope in a difficult environment and adapt to different circumstances.

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If you have a great feeling of control over what surrounds you, you will feel able to play a role in this environment and handle complicated situations. If you find it difficult to have control over your surroundings, according to the psychological well-being questionnaire, you will find it more difficult to overcome the trials that will appear on a daily basis.

2.6 Giving meaning to life

Feel that your life is useful, have positive beliefs and goals with optimism.

If you recognize yourself in this dimension, it means that your life has a meaning that you have given a meaning to your past,  your present, and to your future. If you cannot find a clear goal, you should probably feel that you are not seeing the right direction or feel lost.

3. How can you develop your psychological well-being?

3.1 Find your passion

It can be your job since you can spend hours there. You can also find your passion in other fields that you like: music, sport, manual activity…

3.2 Don’t try to change yourself

Accept yourself in all your dimensions because you cannot change yourself. Trying to do it will only bring you discomfort and denial of yourself. You will earn in well-being if you give your natural a chance. In this mode, all the positive things that you achieve will serve to improve your self-esteem, and the same will happen with the negative things.

3.3 Learn from your mistakes

Not everything always goes the way we want it to. Knowing how to adapt to circumstances and manage your frustration will be essential to be happy and have less life expectations. Be sure and always keep in mind that you are not perfect, that no one is perfect, and that you cannot change that; you only have the power to exploit all the positive sides of your own imperfection.

3.4 Believe in yourself

You have incredible potential to explore, a lot of internal capacity, and a wonderful opportunity to grow as a person. Believe in yourself and in your possibilities. Visualize your goals and start slowly to reach them.

3.5 Dare to do new things

Get out of your comfort zone and discover new areas that will keep you active and motivated. No matter how old you are, there are always new places to visit, new people to know, and new things to learn. For example, trying new activities, meeting people, changing the way to work, etc.

Therefore, psychological well-being can bring you greater maturity, stability, and a capacity for self-knowledge. You just have to start with a small action. It is never too late to cultivate your physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being.

Originally published on Live Positively.