Human flourishing is the highest level of psychological, social and emotional well-being. It’s a place many of us want to get to, but only a few know how to get there. This post will show you one of the tracks.
It’s good to bloom. Florists recover faster from adversity and get the best out of life. They have a perfect balance of positive and negative emotions and report higher life satisfaction and quality of life. They embrace their community and receive support from the people around them. They feel in control of their lives and their environment and see them as meaningful. They accept themselves as they are and enjoy intense personal growth. In other words, they have the resources to help them live a good life.
However, prosperity is not something that we pick up and keep. It’s a fluid state. Just because we’re experiencing it today doesn’t mean we’ll keep it. For example, in a longitudinal study assessing levels of prosperity over a decade, half of the prosperous experienced a decline over time. Moreover, the decline from a state of prosperity to a state of moderate health, which is what most of us experience, is associated with a higher risk of it. depression and other mental health issues. Thus taking action to improve and maintain our well-being is essential.
Prosperity does not mean that our lives are perfect. The opposite is true. Florists may be people who have just been diagnosed with a long-term illness, and who suffer from a divorce, or juggling the many daily hassles associated with their growing family. However, despite their circumstances, they have developed a range of resources that help them lead a good life. This may include a support network, being able to balance negative feelings with positive ones, or having a hobby that allows them to lose themselves and take a break from life’s challenges.
Positive psychology contributes to various interventions that help individuals improve their well-being and prosperity. They include activities such as:
- gratitude: Count your blessings or write a letter of gratitude to someone you didn’t thank.
- Acts of kindness: Random or not random acts of kindness.
- taste: Think about a past or future event and savor it in your mind.
However, while most positive psychology activities aim to change individuals’ thoughts or emotions, and thus influence their flourishing states, they often ignore the body. Thus, when it came to prosperity, we were sometimes seen as floating heads, unattached to our torso and limbs, as the physical and psychosomatic influences were often ignored.
In search of evidence for alternative interventions that lead to psychological, emotional, and social prosperity, my colleague Padrick Dunn of the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences explored how engagement with lifestyle medicine interventions affects psychological well-being.
Lifestyle medicine is the fastest growing medical branch that aims to save lives by preventing, treating and assisting non-communicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization, 74 percent of annual deaths are caused by non-communicable diseases such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes. Most of these deaths are preventable. Six pillars of lifestyle medicine can make a significant contribution to reducing disease and mortality worldwide.
The six pillars recommended by doctors are good feedphysical activity, sleep quality, Stress Managementrelationships and reduce drug use and misuse. A set of interventions has been developed for each pillar. For example:
- Good nutrition: Eat an extra vegetable a day.
- Physical activity: Get out for 120 minutes a week.
- Sleeps: Turn off your phone an hour before bed.
- stress management 10 minutes of exercise Mindfulness day.
- relations: Communicate meaningfully with one person (which could be a stranger) per day.
- level: Drink one less alcohol unit per week.
We have ample evidence to suggest that taking action and making small changes in each pillar of lifestyle medicine reduces illness and hospital visits and extends life. However, until recently, we had no evidence of their impact on psycho-emotional and social well-being.
That’s why Dunne and I recently conducted research with over a thousand participants and determined that not only is there a link between engaging in lifestyle improvement and well-being, but also that the use of lifestyle medicine predicts prosperity.
Specifically, those who were thriving were three times more likely to use interventions for the three pillars of lifestyle medicine than were the moderate participants. Moreover, those with prosperity were nine times more likely to engage in lifestyle medicine pillars than those whose well-being was poor.
What lifestyle medical interventions would you practice today to prevent or help manage your non-communicable disease and contribute to your mental, emotional and social health?