Published on May 23rd 2024

A Journey to Unveiling the Secrets of Psychological Well-Being

#Health
#Mental health

Written by

A Journey to Unveiling the Secrets of Psychological Well-Being

Arpita

Writer

A Journey to Unveiling the Secrets of Psychological Well-Being

Table of Contents

1

. Understanding the psychology of mental health and wellbeing

2

. Cyber-ostracism & its effect on psychological well-being

3

. How do you get yourself to stop ruminating?

5

. What else do we know about positive psychological well-being?

6

. Lastly, a few more interesting facts about psychological well-being

7

. Conclusion

How do you presently feel about yourself and life in general? As you figure out the answer to this question, you are also making a point about your well-being. You might as well add how happy and satisfied you are with things going on around you.

In scientific literature, we can describe well-being in two ways: hedonic (or emotional well-being) & eudaimonic (or psychological well-being).

Emotional well-being sums up the positive emotional experiences that an individual may have at the moment. On the other hand, psychological well-being is a state that defines the best functioning capacity of an individual and goes beyond the experience of pleasure. It also means reaching your full potential and seeking out your life goals.

Today, we’ll talk about the psychology of mental health and well-being, unearthing lesser-known facts about them that can help solve the stressful mysteries in your day-to-day life.

Understanding the psychology of mental health and wellbeing

The theory of psychological well-being (PWB) adopts a multidimensional model to clearly state what it is all about. For now, we’ll just briefly look into its six components, which are:

  • Meaning (definition), purpose (aim), and direction people choose to give to their lives.
  • Autonomy (control over the self).
  • Personal growth & accomplishments.
  • Exercising skilled authority over one’s environment and reactionary approach.
  • Sustaining positive relationships (among friends & family).
  • Self-knowledge (self-awareness) & self-acceptance (people accepting themselves as they are).

The PERMA model, which American psychologist and educator Martin Seligman founded in 2012, is another fascinating way to understand psychological well-being. He emphasizes that engagement and social relationships are fundamental to building strong psychological well-being.

Seligman’s PERMA (aka Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment) model of psychological well-being tells us:

  • When you participate in an activity or session that adds meaning to your life and makes you happy, there is an increase in the production of positive neurotransmitters and hormones in the body and mind. This ultimately leads to improving your overall sense of well-being.
  • "Healthy relationships are basic human needs. They help you develop love, intimacy, and strong emotional and physical interaction with other fellow humans, heightening your resilience capacity and enhancing your psychological well-being".
  • Many research findings hint at how if an individual is socially connected to and interactive among his/her friends, family, and work peers, he/she happens to have sound mental well-being.
  • “Social isolation” and “loneliness” can degrade your psychological well-being. They can undermine the number and quality of relationships in your life, creating disbalance in your feelings and perceptions.

Cyber-ostracism & its effect on psychological well-being

Waiting for “likes” and “comments” after posting an update on a social media platform is a common occurrence. But little do we know that this can trigger stress in people of most age groups, particularly adolescents, as they actively look for acceptance and acknowledgement from their peers.

Online communication is asynchronous in nature, meaning there is no immediate response/reaction to any activity/action you perform in the virtual world. Think sending an email or message to your friend or co-worker, or posting a photo or video on a social media platform—do you get reciprocated instantly? Well, sometimes you may. But largely, this is not the case, and you know it too! In such circumstances, the pain of cyberostracism might sting you.

According to a recent study published in 2022, individuals who were left out of a photo uploaded by friends, family, or acquaintances on social media platforms felt abandoned or uncared for by their own people online.

Cyber-ostracized adolescents may start ruminating too, which is repeatedly and passively thinking about the events that cause distress. Experts label it as a maladaptive coping strategy that people turn to when undergoing stressful events in life. It's exhausting enough, but they tend to mentally visualize all the possible alternatives that they could’ve taken instead, including the consequences.

Another set of studies was conducted in 2017 on the issue of social media ostracism. It revealed that the school- and university-level students who were “cyber-ostracized” reported lower levels of emotional well-being than those who were “cyber-included." A few of the participants even called cyber-ostracism “psychologically painful.”

How do you get yourself to stop ruminating?

One method to reduce the incidence and degree of rumination is practicing mindfulness. As a matter of fact, it is a psychological trait that all individuals generally possess. But the degree of mindfulness that each can attain varies.

The Monitor and Acceptance Theory (MAT) describes mindfulness as:

  • Controlling and regulating attention.
  • Accepting all kinds of thoughts, feelings, and emotions with an open, kind, and non-judgemental mind.

Thus, when we practice mindfulness, we try to bring our full attention to the present and quit dwelling on past traumatic events. But remember, we need to do it with an “accepting attitude and absolutely no harsh judgment about ourselves.”

How is positive psychological well-being related to heart health?

Over the years, substantive research has consistently assessed whether depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic stress have any role to play in the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

In 2014, a meta-analysis looked into 30 prospective studies (that had about 40 independent reports) collected from 893,850 participants with follow-up periods that ranged from 2 to 37 years. It concluded that depression was a solid predictor of an increased risk of CVDs.

Positive psychological well-being (PWB) is all about opening yourself to positive thoughts and feelings and finding optimism, happiness, and purpose in life. Studies and reviews share evidence that positive PWB is closely associated with a lower risk of CVDs and that it promotes cardiovascular health (CVH).

What else do we know about positive psychological well-being?

  • It has direct effects on neurobiological processes (that include blood pressure, total lipid or glucose count in the human body, and cardiovascular conditions).
  • It shows externally through certain health behaviors (such as abstinence from smoking, regular physical activity, proper diet, and healthy BMI).
  • Few studies reflect that optimism could be a highly influential factor in maintaining cardiovascular health (CVH). They point out that optimistic individuals don’t cower down when met with difficulties; rather, they face them diligently and even ask for social support if there is any need. Such people are “more-liked” and have “large networks of friends or family to provide support during their stressful times.”
  • Moreover, optimism inspires hope for the future; it nurtures cognitive habits (or tendencies) that improve CVH. For example, taking medical advice more seriously, solving problems effectively, and acting cautiously to prevent mishaps. Some scholars claim that optimism, when fabricated, can do damage to the mind. Still, major other research works make it evident that individuals with “high” and “not excessive” optimism can easily work out the differences between controllable and uncontrollable stressors.

They've got a persevering nature and judiciously plan out strategies to overcome controllable stressors. And as for the uncontrollable ones, they shift to other goals or draw on other coping mechanisms.

[*Stressors could be any situation, event, or action taken by others or oneself that has the potential to trigger strain or tension in you or induce other mental symptoms.]

Lastly, a few more interesting facts about psychological well-being

i) Data from a recent 2023 study indicates that proper energy management enables you to participate more enthusiastically in workplaces and be better involved and dedicated toward completing your work. It also reduces burnout. The result of the study affirms that the energy-management practices you implement have a direct impact on your psychological well-being.

This study looked into the professional lives of 365 school teachers during the pandemic era, when they were suddenly subjected to learning new technology, conducting classes and assessments in an online (distant) mode, and having too much workload and health concerns. It corroborated that workplace mental health and well-being were important factors that helped teachers overcome these struggles.

ii) Eating fruits and vegetables daily has somewhat proven to contribute to strong psychological well-being. Research data suggests that happiness and mental health—both rise (in an approximately dose-response way)—with the increase in the daily portions of fruits and vegetables. This pattern can be well applied to people belonging to different geographical and economic sections.

iii) Lately, evidence has been emerging that underlines the beneficial effects of physical activity (PA) on the mental well-being of people across all age groups. It is especially true in the case of older adults, whose participation in leisure-time PA has resulted in a positive influence on their physical and mental health.

Conclusion

Lifestyle, diet, exercise, and energy management play a key role in shaping your psychological well-being. So make your choices wisely.

“Taking care of your mental health is an act of self-love.” You mustn’t shy away from giving yourself all the love you possibly can.

A healthy body, mind, and soul go a long way toward enhancing your quality of life! They've had a positive and fruitful impact on your professional, personal, and social spheres of life.

Reviewed by

Yashi_Sonthalia,_MSc-min[1].png

Yashi Sonthalia

Counseling Psychologist

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