Assess Your Levels of Well-Being

    Stress and feeling good are not mutually exclusive. In fact, when we use stress to help us learn and grow, it becomes central to the experience of well-being. Therefore, in order to embrace the positive side of stress, it is necessary to understand well-being. Well-being is more than feeling happy or content in life. Ancient Greek philosophers conceived of happiness as addressing two main areas: hedonia and eudaimonia. Hedonia—or hedonism—means to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. We all want to do that! More specifically, it refers to the pleasures you seek in your daily life. You get pleasure from slowly chewing on a bar of chocolate or feeling the crisp wind against your cheeks. Eudaimonia refers to the happiness that comes from life fulfillment, engagement, and meaning. You experience this during a stimulating conversation with a friend or by being busy and productive doing work you love. Both types of happiness are important. Modern-day psychologists have expanded these early thoughts on happiness into a more comprehensive theory of well-being. One pioneer in this area is theorist and positive psychology founder Martin Seligman (2011), who describes five core areas of well-being: 1. Positive emotions 2. Engagement 3. Relationships (positive) 4. Meaning 5. Accomplishment These areas are captured by the acronym PERMA. Since Seligman’s theory came out, there have been many leaders in the field of positive psychology who have argued for a sixth domain of well-being: health. Since I agree that health is an additional, crucial element in the arena of stress and well-being, I’ll present the PERMA-H theory in the following chart:
    Area of Well-Being Description Example Positive emotions Feeling pleasurable emotions such as joy, excitement, interest, and peace. Although they felt stressed and scared, Daniella and Sophia felt the tingling of excitement in their stomachs as they stood in line for the roller coaster. Engagement Absorbing yourself in the task at hand. Julie was fully engaged in the letter of gratitude she was typing to her mother. Relationships (positive) Creating and connecting in healthy relationships that enrich your life. Steve is very connected to his sister. They spend time together on the weekends and regularly share their weekly stressors and joys. Meaning Pursuing or experiencing a sense of connection and purpose that goes beyond yourself (with another person, an institution, or the larger universe). Jeanne experienced a sense of meaning when she took a walk in the forest and felt a connection with “life” in general. Accomplishment Reaching your goals; finding success through benchmarks, awards, or achievements in one or more domains of your life. Jerry received a job promotion that he’d pursued through seven years of dedication and commitment to hard work. Health Experiencing physical health and wellness that feels good in the body and mind. Health is more than simply “the absence of disease”; it is a feeling of vitality regardless of whether or not you are disease-free. Danny has generally good health habits but feels especially vital and “alive” when he is playing softball with his friends.Seligman finalized his PERMA theory by highlighting the most important part: the 24 character strengths underpin or serve as pathways to each area of well-being. Whereas any of the character strengths can conceivably serve as a route to any of the PERMA areas, some will be more dominant. For example, perseverance and self-regulation are particularly central for the accomplishment area, while gratitude and spirituality, among other things, are particularly important for the meaning area (Wagner et al. 2018). Furthermore, there is overlap between each of the areas. For instance, in order to reach any achievement in life, you need to do work or training that’s at least somewhat engaging; and no doubt in your positive relationships, you experience plenty of meaning as well as positive emotions. Despite the connections among all these domains of well-being, each stands alone as a unique area that can be independently measured and improved upon. That is where I invite you to turn your attention now—to an opportunity to develop insights on your own PERMA-H levels. The questions that follow (which were found to be accurate measurements of the core areas of well-being in a large-scale study by the VIA Institute on Character) are not meant to serve as a comprehensive assessment of each area, but they will give you a first impression of your overall well-being. There are no “good or bad” or “high or low” cutoff scores, as the point here is not to compare yourself to others. The point is to give you a sense of the areas in which you are particularly strong and the areas in which growth is needed. Let’s explore each of the six areas one by one. An example is offered before each set of questions, then you’ll be asked to reflect more deeply on your own experience in each domain. For each of the three statements that apply to each area, assign yourself an initial score, considering your life as a whole, using the following rating scale: 5 = Very much like me 4 = Like me 3 = Neither like me nor unlike me 2 = Unlike me 1 = Very much unlike me Positive Emotions Example: Joselyn likes to laugh a lot. It seems like there are few situations in which she is not laughing and having a good time. She prioritizes hanging out with her friends three to four times a week, and they go out to bars, restaurants, and local events—talking, hanging out, and just having fun. When she’s having fun, she experiences a full range of positive emotions, including joy, interest, love, gratitude, excitement, amusement, desire, and even peacefulness. Joselyn scored high in the area of positive emotions. I experience pleasure and positive emotions much more than not. When it comes to physical pleasures in my life, I try to savor them fully. I often get pleasure from reflecting on the past or imagining good things in the future. Your total score for positive emotions When are you most likely to experience positive emotions in your daily life (work, home, school, social, community)? In what specific situations do you feel positive emotions most substantially (such as when you’re with your best friend at your favorite restaurant; when you’re watching funny videos online)?How important is this area of well-being to you? Is this an area you’d like to improve upon? How might you start? Explore your responses here: Engagement Example: Bob can quickly list many examples in his daily life of when he feels like he’s “in the zone,” or in a state of flow. His favorite is when he’s playing tennis and finds his rhythm as he maneuvers on the court. He gets to a point where he’s not thinking about each shot, he’s just focusing on the game and letting his body take action. Bob also reports being in the zone quite a bit at work, absorbed in team meetings or in one-on-one discussions with colleagues, as well as in crunching numbers on his computer. When he goes home, he fully commits to playing with his five-year-old son, creating make-believe games and following his son’s every move and word. Bob scored high on engagement. Many experiences in my life challenge me and capture my full attention. My life is full of activities that engage my strengths and connect with who I am as a person. I often go through the day without much distraction or disengagement. Your total score for engagement When are you most likely to be engaged in your daily life (work, home, school, social, community)? In what specific situations do you feel that sense of engagement most substantially (such as when you’re writing a poem; when you’re talking about the community with your neighbor)? How do you use engagement to handle your stress? How important is this area of well-being to you? Is this an area you’d like to improve upon? How might you start? Explore your responses here: Relationships (Positive) Example: Sue always seems to focus her attention on other people. She is quick to lend her ear to listen to someone’s troubles or her hand to give her time to someone in need. She devotes most of her energy to her children and their friends, offering to support each person. Her neighbors, relatives, and coworkers view her as highly trustworthy and genuine. People can quickly size Sue up to see where she stands on an issue or a situation—and if the situation calls for helping another person, you can bet that’s the side she’ll be on. Sue scored high in the domain of positive relationships. I have at least one warm and caring relationship based on mutual giving and receiving. In times of need, there is someone I can turn to for support. I feel well loved. Your total score for positive relationships When are you most likely to connect through positive relationships in your daily life (work, home, school, social, community)? In what specific situations do you experience positive relationships most substantially (such as when you and your partner are discussing a stressful experience; when you and your coworker are getting lunch and discussing work situations)?
    Wadifa Club
    writer and blogger, founder of Dog food planet .

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