When we speak of well-being, we usually refer to a state of good health.
According to the WHO (1948), health is “a state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This definition goes beyond the medical approach and implies taking charge of the person as a whole. Therefore, we no longer mean the only absence of disease, but also the possibility for a person to reach adequate social conditions, and a good state of psychological and emotional balance.
If, from a strictly objective point of view, we can think of health and well-being as a state of absence of disease combined with the presence of good socio-economic conditions, from a subjective point of view, the discussion continues. Subjectively, we can talk about well-being as a state of pleasure and satisfaction due to the achievement of personal goals. But not only: it is equally important for a person to be able to achieve his full potential, reaching a balance between personal and environmental resources.
One can say that a person is in a state of subjective well-being if:
- He/she can achieve significant goals for him/herself;
- He/she is able to mobilize and develop resources;
- He/she can interact on a social level, having good interpersonal relationships.
There are many ways to promote and facilitate psychological well-being:
- Psycho-physical relaxation and stress management training (progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, meditation and visualization or breathing control techniques);
- Techniques to improve the management of emotional states;
- Training of assertiveness, aiming at learning and strengthening the communicative and relational skills of the person;
- Recognition and enhancement of one’s social and relational abilities;
- Sleep and nutrition;
- Training to increase self-esteem, thanks to individual psychological resources;
- Management of psychosomatic disorders and chronic pain, such as headache, muscle contractures, back pain, headache, hypertension or digestive disorders;
- Body weight management practices, which can be very useful to effectively manage moments of frustration and uncontrolled emotion that often lead to overfeeding;
- Smoking prevention and promotion of healthier habits.
So, the psychology of well-being does not deal with pathological state, but aims to help people to express their potential and to master more effectively the situations experienced. Besides, it concentrates on the research for a psychophysical balance and a healthier lifestyle.
Generally, after an intervention of psychology of well-being, people report that they have been able to overcome moments where they were feeling stuck, starting then managing their life according to their desires. This means no longer feeling at the mercy of events, but rather being masters of their own life and better able to determine events. At the same time, they have experienced significant reduction, even disappearance, of somatic discomforts.