Psychological Well-Being Matters!
How many of us give a thought to our psychological well-being?
Almost all of us take care to be physically healthy. We need to be physically fit to take on the demands of our hectic lives, and so we make a conscious effort. Quite a lot of us also take pride in being physical fit, hitting the gym, watching the weight and so on. But, how many of us really make a conscious effort in checking our psychological well-being? It is only when we are faced with an emotional distress or a psychological trauma do we consider the mental aspect.
We often forget that it takes mental strength to push ourselves towards success, to be focused on our goals, and to achieve greater heights. Only mental toughness or resilience can get us through hardships and life’s many challenges.
So, how can we find out how well off we are psychologically?
Measuring psychological well-being
Psychologist and researcher Carol D. Ryff designed a scale for measuring psychological well-being. She divided well-being into six categories and put up an inventory of questions for each category, asking respondents to rate statements on a scale of 1 to 6. Totalling up the score for each category can help in assessing the person’s psychological well-being. A high score in an area indicates that the person is psychologically well off in that area. A low score means the person needs to work on mastering that area.
The following are the six categories of psychological well-being and their explanation in brief:
- Self-acceptance: Whether or not the person has a positive attitude towards self and is content about past life.
- Establishment of relationships with other: Whether or not the person has trusting and satisfying relationships with others, and understands the give & take nature of relationships.
- Autonomy in thought and action: Whether or not the person is independent and has the initiative to act despite social norms and pressures.
- Ability to manage complex environments, adjusting them to suit one’s requirements and values: Whether or not the person is aware of the available opportunities and is able to master the complexities of daily life.
- Purpose in life: Whether or not the person has a sense of direction as to life’s purpose, gets satisfaction out of life, and has some achievable aims and objectives for living.
- Personal growth: Whether the person continues to retain an interest in life, is open to new experiences, and feels a sense of continuous personal growth.
While the administration of the Ryff’s scale is indeed in the hands of counsellors, psychologists, and others who are professionally qualified, the rest of us can, to some extent, get an idea as to how we fare and can work on the areas where we perceive a lack.
Ways to boost psychological wellbeing
~ Don’t suppress emotions – Any person who contains his or her feelings without sharing it with others is prone to suffer from issues like anxiety and depression. Whatever may be the emotion, whether it is sorrow, anger or happiness, we need to share it with others so that we don’t get overwhelmed. Without opening up and connecting to others, a person cannot be guaranteed a healthy state of mind.
~ Acknowledge strengths and weaknesses – No one in this world is an epitome of perfection. Everyone has their share of strengths and weaknesses, and knowing them can pave the way to attaining a stable mental health. Play to your strengths and work with your weaknesses. Mistakes do happen; don’t keep brooding on that for too long but take that as a learning experience.
~ Avoid substance abuse – Excessive drinking of alcohol is a major deterrent when it comes to psychological well-being. Any substance abuse for that matter damages mental health, and repairing the damage comes at a hard price.Drinking alcohol in a bid to drown sorrows and worries will not do the body or mind any good. Thus, to improve one’s well-being, substance abuse is the first thing one should pay attention to.
~ Explore your creative side – Being creative is always a positive sign, as it signifies that the person has a wonderful state of mind. Pick up a hobby that gives you the freedom to explore your creative side. Whether it is stamp collection, cooking, painting, music, or gardening, a hobby engages and keeps you occupied. Furthermore, exploring your creativity also helps to soothe those nerves and calms your mind. In addition, you are deterred from thinking any negative thoughts and thus you won’t brood over the past.
~ Find time to relax – Many of us are so fiercely competitive about work that we hardly find time to relax and do something for ourselves. Making a conscious effort to slow down can actually ease up a person’s daily schedule. Even a simple activity, such as taking a short 10-minute nap or listening to relaxing music, diminishes the mental stress that has accumulated throughout the day and refreshes the mind.
~ Meditate – In the midst of a busy day, find five minutes to meditate. This will help you clear your head and lower your stress.
~ Try aromatherapy – Fragrant oils like lavender and ylang-ylang, whether inhaled, applied, or added to bath water, can aid in getting a good night’s sleep, which is very important for one’s psychological well-being. If are suffering from insomnia or if you are stressed out, give aromatherapy a try.
~ Derive happiness from helping others – Try to help others whenever you get a chance. You not only make someone happy, but you also feel good about yourself. This is morale booster like nothing else and will improve your self-esteem.
~ Chase realistic goals – There is nothing wrong in aiming high. But if it borders on the unrealistic, the mind starts feeling the stress and you are on the way to a burnout. Let there be larger goals, but take them in small steps.
If you are looking for help, whether for yourself or for a loved one, our psychologists can assist in exploring underlying issues through therapy. Please visit our practitioners’ page to find out more, or call (03) 9820-5577 for an appointment or to make enquiries.
- When to Visit a Psychologist
- Problem Solving: A Psychological Perspective
- Dealing with Stress
- Stress at Work
- Trauma Counselling
- Top 5 Things to Do to Support a Family Member with Depression
- Coping with Loss and Grief
- Grief and Recovery