WHAT EXACTLY IS MENTAL “WELLNESS”?
Wellness is involved with eight aspects of our being; mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, biological, sexual, psychological, and social. Problems in any one aspect can and do affect all the others.
I choose to focus on mental “wellness” instead of mental health because the term “mental health” too often implies a negative or disorder. Mental “wellness,” a positive or strength, has been defined as the following:
- “… a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of diseases and infirmity.” (World Health Organization, 1948) –
- “[Mental wellness] encompasses the existence of positive states of human capacity and functioning and the absence of disease or illness.” (World Health Organization, 1948) –
- “… a state of successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with people, and the ability to adapt to change and to cope with adversity.” (US Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher,1999) –
- “… a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” (World Health Organization, 2004) –
- “A dynamic state of well-being characterized by a physical and mental potential, which satisfies the demands of life commensurate with age, culture, and personal responsibility.” (Bircher 2005 as cited by Bulbrook, nd).
Mental wellness [as opposed too mental “disorder” or illness] involves thirteen areas in two categories:
- Category 1: items 1 & 2 below: hedonic well-being
- Category 2: items 3 through 13 below: positive functioning
1. I have been generally cheerful, happy, calm and peaceful, satisfied and full of life and zest over the past 30 days.
2. I am happy or satisfied with life as a whole or within various domains of my life, such as relationships, work, leisure, etc.
3. I have a positive attitude towards myself and life and am comfortable with various aspects of myself.
4. I have a positive attitude towards others and accepting of other people’s differences.
5. I am aware of my own potential and development and am open to novel experiences and challenges.
6. I feel that people, social groups, and the culture have potential and can evolve in positive directions.
7. I have values and goals that give me a sense of direction and I believe that life has purpose and meaning.
8. My life is beneficial to society and offers value to others.
9. I can manage my different (physical, social, relational, emotional, spiritual, etc.) environments and modify those environments if needed to fulfill my needs.
10. I am engaged in society or social life and feel society and culture are worthwhile and meaningful.
11. I have a sense of self-direction, with strong socially accepted internal standards, and am able to resist unproductive social pressures.
12. I experience healthy personal relationships, demonstrating warmth, satisfaction and trust, and have empathy and intimacy with other people.
13. I enjoy a sense of belonging to a community and gain comfort and support from community involvement.
Curious about this? Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being poor and 10 being very good. How do you feel you are doing in these two categories and each of these 13 different areas?
Score each of these 13 items as shown below:
– 8-10 Flourishing
– 4-7 Moderate
– 1-3 Languishing
Now total and average the two categories which gives you an average rating for each of the two categories. You can score most of these thirteen areas as flourishing or moderate and average the same, yet still have problems or concerns in specific areas.
Have some questions, want some ideas to improve in a specific area, or feel like you need some help? Send me an email asking for a free consultation. Include your availability in the coming week and I’ll respond within 24 hours with a day and time that works for both of us.
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