Wellness psychology

Wellness psychology is the study of mental and emotional wellness – in other words, the way to create conditions of thinking and feeling that are consistent with healthy living.
Wellness psychology is a way of responding to the challenges of life with positive expectancy and self-esteem, based on the awareness that our natural state is harmony and inner peace, if we can reduce or eliminate whatever is interfering with that state. Wellness psychology is based more on lifestyle decisions than the treatment of a professional. Learning to interpret the events of your life with positive realism gives you a perspective from which you can assign uplifting meanings to those events. Tony Robbins says, “Nothing has any meaning but the meaning you give it,” and putting a positive spin on things sets an internal environment that is more likely to encourage overall wellness.
But there’s more to wellness psychology than just positive thinking. Rather than waiting around for mental and emotional symptoms, you can be proactive and develop habits that make you mentally and emotionally healthier on an ongoing basis.

Choices and decisions

Scientists tell us that much of our self-talk is negative, so learning to be kind and supportive in your mental chatter is a direct step toward a well mind. Practice saying constructive things to yourself, like “I’m a good person, today’s going to be a great day, I can do this,” simple stuff like that. One of the most powerful tools you can use is saying affirmations, positive statements spoken aloud daily that focus your mind and establish a consistent tone of empowerment.
Visualizing or imagining a desirable future helps to promote wellness by creating feelings of excitement, fun, and positive expectancy. It also sensitizes us to anything we come across in real life that reminds us of our vision, so we start to pick up on distinctions we might otherwise miss. There is even considerable evidence to suggest that visualization influences what happens, but one way or another, using your imagination is a constructive habit that adds to the wellness experience.
Setting goals can be very helpful, to focus the mind on productive activities and enhance self-esteem and personal growth. Success is a frequent by-product of a well mind, since the energy used to deal with mental and emotional issues can be reclaimed and reinvested in more fulfilling outcomes and achievements.
Meditation and prayer are useful wellness habits, too. Getting quiet inside and connecting with your higher self, or more formally giving thanks and appreciation to your Maker for your many blessings, are tried and true for adding to the wellness equation.
Watching your nutrition also contributes to mental and emotional wellness. Sugar and caffeine may make you edgy, but often dehydration causes psychological unrest, so drinking sufficient water is a crucial wellness habit. Vitamins and minerals play a major role in mind function, so a well-balanced nutritional regime, with lots of high water content foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, aids your body chemistry and enhances your psychological condition. Also, avoid foods with high concentrations of hormones, antibiotics, or additives, which may irritate your nerve system and cause symptoms.
Physical activity is essential for a wellness lifestyle, and it has a profound positive impact on your perception of reality. Breathing, stretching, or walking can both stimulate and relax you, and more vigorous activity like aerobics, running or weight training keeps your machinery operating at peak efficiency. Programs like Body For Life by Bill Phillips that incorporate exercise, proper diet and an optimistic outlook are likely to promote wellness between your ears as well as around your midsection.
Alignment is the missing link of wellness psychology – alignment of physical structures like the spine and nerve system work hand in hand with alignment of the thinking, values and beliefs, to formulate the best possible internal environment, leading to optimum function and physiological freedom.

Identity

The big distinction about wellness psychology is that it is largely a manifestation of your identity, who you believe yourself to be. If you consider yourself a well person, it goes a long way toward producing well habits and a well mind. Your identity is your self image, your self concept, your beliefs and your values. Choosing beliefs and values that are consistent with well behaviors leads to a well mind.
For example, if you were told as a child that if you washed your hair and went outside with a wet head, you’d get sick, there’s a good chance you either don’t do that, or when you do, you either get sick or worry that you will. This belief, imposed on you by well-meaning but misguided advisors, has no grounding in fact, so merely noticing when you dredge up stuff like this and challenging it to see if it’s really true for you can eliminate interference to normal function caused by faulty thinking. You’ll actually heal better and faster when you catch yourself in these limiting beliefs and adjust them.
Your identity is based on your sense of self, which largely came from the beliefs of such well-intentioned people who shaped your early life – as Dr. Larry Markson says, your Mothers, Fathers, Teachers and Preachers, MFTP. Discovering the beliefs that prevent you from expressing yourself as you wish, and replacing them with beliefs that empower you and help you grow, lead to a well psychology.
Examine your values, what you consider to be important, and be sure they match your ideals. Honoring your innermost needs and wants instead of denying them creates an internal environment of self-acceptance, integrity and inner peace. Love, respect, honesty, freedom – everyone has a different formula, and investigating yours can help you feel more comfortable in your own skin.

Spirituality

No discussion of wellness psychology would be complete without mentioning the impact of spirituality on wellness. Appreciating religious values and spiritual beliefs can help to form a solid foundation of wellness in your life. Learning to balance physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harmony is a theme found in many spiritual traditions and correlates with the goals of wellness psychology.

Personality

The technical end of wellness psychology encourages normal responses to the challenges of life, rather than just treating mental and emotional conditions. Understanding the concept of personality makes this approach clearer. For example, people tend to have patterns of behavior, some of which work better than others, but the patterns usually persist until they are broken or replaced. Noticing these patterns and evaluating them to see if they are constructive or destructive, and shifting the patterns accordingly, make wellness more accessible.
There are many ways to group or evaluate personality types. People tend to favor one of the three major ways the brain processes – visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), and kinesthetic (feeling), and each group has common patterns of behavior. Or, you can divide people by personality style, such as: drivers, expressives, analyticals, and amiables. You can notice typical behaviors, known as metaprograms, such as moving toward benefits or moving away from consequences, or having an internal or external frame of reference. There are more technical systems of personality also, like Myers-Briggs or the enneagram, which offer a deeper understanding of personality and can help create a pathway to personal growth.
Why is personality important? Healthy people express themselves consistent with their personality types, and those types vary greatly, so there is a wide spectrum of normal behaviors that could be considered well behaviors. Knowing yourself, and understanding others you have a relationship with, can give you insight into the unique nature of your personality. You can also understand the likely patterns of health, so you can choose the actions that support wellness for someone of your personality type. Patterns of personality also provide clues for wellness professionals to intervene in a way that is custom-tailored for the needs of each individual. This guides the person toward a well state and even amplifys their health, wellness, and peak performance through personalized wellness counseling.

Quality of life

The most obvious and desirable benefit of a well mind is a better quality of life, which of course is determined by each individual’s model of the world. Our values and beliefs will shape our definition of a great quality of life. A well person or family seeks to live consistently with their own meaning of living well, so identifying the details of your desired outcomes makes it easier to tell when you’re getting close.
To increase your quality of life, think about what a happy, satisfying, fulfilling life would be like, and pay attention to how you would have to show up to have the best chance of creating that life for yourself. The more you act like the kind of person who has the life you want, the more likely you’ll do the things that kind of person would do, and that will lead to having those things in reality. By noticing how you are already like this ideal version of you, and by recognizing where you need to focus your energy to build the resources you need, you can grow into an enhanced version of yourself, more capable and more attractive, which leads to a better quality of life, by your standards.
Personal Growth
The end product of wellness psychology is ongoing personal growth. Rather than a psychological treatment for a mental or emotional condition, wellness psychology leads someone from wherever they are to wherever they want to go mentally and emotionally. Instead of stopping therapy when the symptoms resolve, wellness psychology is based on lifestyle choices and training in wellness habits that go far beyond “no symptoms” to a state of vitality and well-being. Being truly well has a vibration of self esteem and joie de vivre that makes life seem more worth living, and the investment you make in your own education and development will come back to reward you many times over.

Prosperity Consciousness

Einstein reputedly divided people in two groups, those who believe we live in a friendly universe, and those who don’t. Brilliant in its simplicity, it points out the fundamental basis of wellness psychology – that a well mind knows that we live in a friendly universe, brimming with opportunity and potential, awaiting our actions to trigger their manifestation. A well mind sees abundance, and realizes that there is enough so that each of us can have plenty.
A well mind is aware of and utilizes the law of attraction, and understands how consistency with nature and things natural makes sense and produces better overall results. Avoiding “lack thinking” and inappropriate, unnecessary pessimism conserves valuable energy and resources, to invest in productive and gainful behaviors.
So, wellness psychology helps you become rich, because a well mind is attractive, supple, creative, effective, capable, curious, motivated, and persistent. Remember that being rich is not only a matter of money, but a manifestation of inner wealth as well – rich relationships, rich appreciation for the splendor of natural living, and rich life experiences also respond to prosperity consciousness. Positive expectancy and positive, powerful action toward a worthy goal creates the best probability of success and fulfillment. (See The Dynamic Laws Of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder)

Relationship

While you can’t be responsible for someone else’s behaviors and values, you can help to create an environment that makes relationships work better. Gaining and maintaining rapport establishes a bond or connection that improves communication. Sharing and committing to support each other’s values calms rocky waters and sets the stage for happiness and growth in relationships.
You can gain rapport by matching and mirroring someone – in other words, communicating in a similar style, to make it comfortable for the other. By giving the person back their facial expression, voice tonality, body posture, word choice or breathing pattern, you connect with the other person on a deep level. Discussing values comes easier when you have rapport. Ask questions to find out what’s important and why, so you can support them, and reasonably expect their support, too. Make your needs and wants understood too, so you can be supported in pursuing what is important to you.

Aging & Longevity

People who practice wellness typically enjoy their lives and want them to last as long as possible. That’s why the wellness mindset usually accompanies other constructive, healthy lifestyle habits. By adopting positive behaviors like: eating well, exercising, saying affirmations, developing healthy self talk, structuring a healthy system of values and beliefs, creating functional and fulfilling relationships, and balancing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy, you build a foundation of wellness that preserves a well attitude, wellness driven lifestyle choices, and a positive overall experience throughout life. By following these steps, you not only extend your life, but you extend your quality of life deeper into later life. This is the ultimate objective of wellness psychology – to have the best life possible for as long as possible.

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