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My SOSP Articles » Psychological Well-Being


What does psychological well-being mean?


Psychological well-being is a very subjective term but form all the research that has been carried out, the term is used throughout the health industry as kind of a ‘catch-all phrase’ meaning contentment, satisfaction with all elements of life, self-actualisation (a feeling of having achieved something with one’s life), peace and happiness.

While all of the above characteristics are goals to strive towards, it is rather unrealistic for a person to feel all of those elements at the same time. Most of the articles about psychological well-being define the person with “psychological well-being” as a happy, satisfied person. While this seems to be rather a non-technical definition, it seems to fit every example.

In order to make sense of this term, it is best to break it down into a number of area components. Within each area everyone has to ask:

  1. a) “What does this mean day to day?”
  2. b) “How much am I ‘doing’ it in my life, today?”
  3. c) “How could I increase it tomorrow?”

1) Self-acceptance:

 This means having a positive attitude towards yourself; acknowledging and accepting multiple aspects of self; feeling positive about your past life. It means that you would be able to say; “when I look at the story of my life, I am pleased with how things have turned so far. Ask yourself:

“When I look at how I handled this day, am I bale to say, “I did my best with that. I feel OK about how I went.”

 2) Personal Growth

 This means having feelings of continued development and being open to new experiences. It means being able to say; “for me, life has been a continuous process of learning, changing and growth”. Ask yourself:

“How did I learn and change today? What was I open to?”

 3) Purpose in Life

 This means having goals and a sense of direction in life. It means feeling that both the present and past experiences are meaningful; holding beliefs that give a purpose to life. It means being able to say; “some people wander aimlessly through life; I am not one of them.” Ask yourself:

“What goal did I set myself and achieve today?”

4) Environmental Mastery

 This means feeling competent and able to mange a complex environment; choosing or creating personally suitable contexts. It means being able to say; “I am good at managing the responsibilities of daily life.” Ask yourself:

“How did I manage the practicalities of getting through the day? What did I do well?”

5) Autonomy

 This means being self-determining, independent and regulating your behaviour internally; resisting social pressures to think and act in certain ways; evaluating yourself by personal standards. It means being able to say; “I have confidence in my own opinions, even if they are different from the way most other people think.” Ask yourself:

“What did I do or say today that expressed my opinion or belief?”

 6) Positive Relations with Others

 This means having warm, satisfying, trusting relationships. It also means being concerned about other’ welfare and being capable of strong empathy, affection, and intimacy; understanding give-and-take of human relationships. It means being able to say; “People would describe me as a giving person, willing to share my time with others.” Ask yourself:

“What gesture did I make today toward another person, that showed my ability to care?”

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