People have a whole lot of misconceptions about psychological well-being. This is not because there is a lack of information about the same, it is because we have a lot of preconceived notions about the term ‘psychological’.
So let’s get our concept right.
What is Psychological Well-being?
• Psychological well-being refers to the overall evaluation, appraisal or conclusion, that a person draws about his/her life and the experiences they have.
• It was a theory propounded by Prof Carol Ryff, a well renowned psychologist, who gave the theory and the scale to measure a person’s psychological well-being.
• Psychological well-being is about knowing if a person is actually happy, satisfied and content in the situation or position that he/she is living in. That is, to know if your life is something you are positively content living.
• It has nothing to do with the mental wellness of a person or the state of distress. It is only a measure to see if happiness truly is something being derived from life, from the point of view of a person.
Why is psychological wellbeing essential?
Psychological well-being and Physical wellbeing together constitute the overall well-being of a person. Being physically well and not being psychologically well, or vice versa, do not make a person healthy and socially satisfied.A person maybe living a life of luxury and comfort, but he may suffer from stress due to a number of reasons. This kind of luxurious life is no indicator of wellbeing. It is in fact a case of silent distress. Psychological well-being indicates whether or not a person will live the rest of his life contently and happily. It measures all the factors of a person’s present situation and helps to gauge what the future may look like.It would not be wrong to call this the ‘Happiness Index’.
Professor Ryff has given 6 components, on the basis of which we can measure our Psychological well-being. It helps to understand whether we are truly satisfied and happy or just going through the motions of life.
Human beings literally survive on acceptance. We can’t imagine a world where people don’t accept us!
So an important question real quick. “Do you accept yourself?”
You (and me) want the world to accept the good things and the bad things. We want people to accept the qualities and the quirks alike.
But do we accept ourselves? Do we ever say, “I am the best me and I accept myself the way I am!”?
The question is simple. Why should anyone accept you, if you don’t accept yourself?
So that’s the first scale of measuring wellbeing. Self-acceptance.
2. Personal Growth
Personal growth or Personal development, deals with self-appraisal. This may sound ridiculous, but it would go something like this, “Last year I was a 4/10. This year I want to be at least a 7/10!”
That kind of positive growth rating that you give yourself, based on a million things like appearance, wealth, self-control, diligence, etc. is what defines personal growth.
Suppose a person has stayed in the same job, without ever considering the possibility that is not what he is meant to do. He goes through life without any value addition, developing any new skill or even trying to build a better life.That is a classic example of stagnation. There is no personal growth or development at all.
It’s all about building a life resume that you would be proud to show off.
It includes learning new skills, starting projects, enhancing existing qualities, etc. It’s your look on life.
So how pumped is your life resume? Would you hire yourself?
3. Purpose of Life
Teleology, or in simple words, the reason for one’s existence. That ultimate purpose for which we were created and sent here. It is crucial that we find some purpose in our life.
One thing we can all be certain of, is that we were all sent here to fulfil some purpose. There was some reason why the Almighty spent precious time creating us. He wasn’t trying to balance the weight on earth, when he sent us here!
So it becomes essential to find out, in this very lifetime, why we are here?
Why were we woken from eternal peace and sent to slog on earth?
What is the goal? What’s the purpose? What’s the motive behind my existence?
These are the answers that you have to figure out for your well-being.
4. Environmental Mastery
It is a state of mind which helps us cope with the feeling of helplessness.
One must master both, the internal and external environments by doing simple tests (SWOT Analysis – Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats) and understanding what one is dealing with.
Be it workplace or even outside of work. We must always be aware of the environment we are in. That is the only way in which we can feel worthy. Nobody wins a battle blind. Until and unless you know what and with whom you are fighting, how will you win?
Mastering our environment, helps us to deal with our work easily because then we don’t waste time feeling out of place. Instead we focus on doing our job and doing it well.
It is basically a law, which says that a ‘rational individual’ will always make an unbiased, un-coerced decision.
Why is this essential? Because any influence over our decisions in life, affect our sense of individuality. It feels like unnecessary control.
We can never be happy if all our decisions are actually just influenced remarks of others. We need the power to do what we wish, in limits.
There is a need to be function autonomously and make our own decisions.
6. Positive relations with others
It is obvious that positive and supportive relationships, make us feel good about ourselves. We live far more peacefully, when we have cordial relationships and a good understanding with the people around us.
If we have strained relationships, it affects all facets of our life. We find ourselves incapable of thinking and acting appropriately. Because we are distressed.
We may be immune to other people’s behaviour towards us, but the psychological impact of it is much greater than we imagine. It lingers in the subconscious mind for a long time and comes out as a reaction, most often at the wrong time.
Various noted psychologists like Carl Jung (Individuation) and Abraham Maslow (Self-Actualisation), have based their theories on the concept that an individual may have a long list of achievements; but until and unless he is at peace with himself, he will never be psychologically fit.
In the long run, our psychological well-being, is what will decide how our assessment of life will be read.