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What is well-being?
The World Health Organization defines well-being as:
The presence of a state in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community.
To give a few other examples, well-being has also been described as ‘optimal psychological functioning and experience’ or ‘flourishing.’
Related to well-being:
- positive emotions;
- positive relationships;
- engagement and interest;
- life satisfaction,
- presence of positive mood and absence of negative mood
- meaning and life purpose;
- self determination;
- self esteem;
- and resilience
- personal growth
- positive relatedness
Office for National Statistics lists the following domains as central to most adults’ well-being:
- good connections with friends and family
- education and training
- job satisfaction and economic security
- present and future conditions of the environment
‘Sweet 16’ – sixteen areas of life that together create well-being, happiness, and life satisfaction: health, self-esteem, goals-and-values, money, work, play, learning, creativity, helping, love, friends, children, relatives, home, neighborhood, and community. Click here to read more.
Psychological well-being refers to positive mental health. To be well psychologically is more than just to be free of distress and mental problems Here are the 6 components that together build psychological well-being:
- autonomy – the ability to make and follow one’s own decisions and resist social pressures.
Individuals with high levels of autonomy are independent in a sense that they can think for themselves. They don’t spend too much time worrying about what others think about them. Individuals with low levels of autonomy feel dependent on others, are looking to others for guidance and are constantly worried about the opinions of others. They also conform to others’ desires easier.
- purpose in life – the belief that one’s life has purpose and meaning.
Individuals with a high sense of purpose believe that their life has meaning, their work makes a difference in the world. They often feel connected to ideas bigger than themselves. Individuals on the other spectrum frequently question if there is a bigger purpose or meaning of life and they often feel their life does not make sense.
- positive relationships with others – the ability to have trusting, warm, good and satisfying relationships with others.
An individual with positive relationships feels loved, respected and connected. They willingly share aspects of their life and who they are, and usually feel secure in their relations. Individuals with poor relationships tend to feel unloved, disconnected, unappreciated, misunderstood, disrespected, rejected or even hostile. They often feel insecure, alone or distant from others.
- personal growth – the individual’s perception of growing and developing as a person as well as being open to new experiences.
High levels of personal growth allows individuals to see themselves as changing in a positive direction, towards their goals, understanding themselves better, and learning new skills. Individuals low in personal growth often feel bored in life and lack a sense of improvement, change or development over time.
- environmental mastery – the ability to effectively manage one’s life and the one’s immediate surroundings, the ability to meet the demands of the situation.
Individuals high in environmental mastery feel that they are equipped with resources and capacities to cope, they do not get overwhelmed by stress and can easily adjust and adapt to problems. Individuals with a low level of environmental mastery often feel stressed and overwhelmed. They don’t believe they have the capability to change disappointing or unsatisfying aspects of their environment.
- self acceptance – the ability to positively evaluate oneself, past behaviors and the choices that a person has made in the past.
Individuals with high self-acceptance are pleased with who they are, they accept both good and bad aspects of themselves. Individuals with low self-acceptance are often self-critical and wish they were different in many respects.
People with overall high scores on these 6 components are considered as having high psychological well-being. Click here to read more.
Positive well-being – what does it mean?
A list of 10 features of positive well-being (click here if you’d like to find out more):
- Competence – most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do and I feel competent
- Emotional stability – (in the past week) I felt calm and peaceful
- Engagement – taking an interest in your work and activities (I love learning new things)
- Meaning – I generally feel that what I do in life is valuable and worthwhile
- Optimism – I am always feeling positive about my life and my future
- Positive emotions – all things considered, how happy do I feel?
- Positive relationships – There are people in my life that I care for and who care about me
- Resilience – being able to bounce back in the face of adversity (when things go wrong in my life it generally takes me a short time to get back to normal)
- Self-esteem – In general, I feel very positive about myself
- Vitality – (in the past week) I had a lot of energy
Well-being and coaching.
Coaching can affect individual well-being and related aspects through many pathways and in many ways.
- empirical studies demonstrate that coaching positively affects individual well-being and related aspects
- coaching supports individuals on their way to increased well-being by promoting
- self-discovery and self-awareness,
- emotional regulation,
- and action planning
- coaching supports clients with improvements of numerous aspects associated with well-being like:
- gratitude, longevity, inspiration, resilience, coping,
- peer acceptance and friendship, social and enterprising interests,
- commitment and involvement
- lower stress level,
- better perceived health status,
- decreased depression and anxiety,
- higher goal attainment
- higher resilience
- improving client’s ability to feel useful, relaxed, and think clearly
- increase client’s coping skills and deal with the unexpected situations
- well-being also improves with positive changes in psychological courage, bravery, open-mindedness, love of learning, zest, integrity/honesty, self-regulation and hope