Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Well-Being and Some Personality Traits

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Well-Being and Some Personality Traits

Article excerpt

In the classical Indian tradition, health is conceptualized as a state of delight or a feeling of physical, mental and spiritual well-being (Dalai, 2001 ; Sinha, 1990). It speaks of a state of mind that is peaceful and quiet. Ayurveda (an Indian system of medicine) also emphasizes that wellbeing of man does not consist in the maintenance of good physical health, but also includes the mental, social and spiritual health. The recent definition of World Health Organisation (WHO, 2002) is also similar to this and gives importance to social aspect too, through the biopsychosocial model. The WHO defines health as a state of complete, physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being and not merely as the absence of disease or infirmity. This well-being is the product of a complete interplay of biological, social, cultural, economic and spiritual factors. In fact, well-being is a complex construct that concerns optimal psychological functioning, leading to good life. It is a dynamic state of mind characterized by a reasonable amount of harmony between individual's ability, needs, expectations and environmental demands and opportunities. Wellbeing is often referred to as wholeness of body, mind and spirit in terms of health, prosperity and self-actualization. Jung (1997) views wholeness or health as an instinctive drive in the human psyche to integration. Jung asserts that psychological wellbeing results when we experience the sense of unity and harmony that endures within ourselves, irrespective of the outer chaos, changes or fragmentation. It also happens when we experience ourselves as being centres of being alive. According to Fromm (1976), wellbeing is only possible to the degree to which one is open, responsive, sensitive, awake and empty (in the Zen sense). Wellbeing means to be fully related to man and the nature effectively, to overcome separateness and alienation, to arrive at the experience of oneness with all that exists, and yet to experience 'myself at the same time as the separate entity I am as the individual. According to Maslow (1968) psychological health of the adult is termed variously as self-fulfilment, emotional maturity, individuation, productiveness, self-actualization, authenticity, full of humanness, etc. Clinebell (1995) observed that "wholeness or wellbeing is not the absence of brokenness. You are whole or have wellbeing to the degree that the centre of your life is integrated and energized by love and healthy spirituality".

The definitions of wellbeing can be grouped into three categories. First, wellbeing has been defined by external criteria such as virtue. Wellbeing is not thought as a subjective state rather as possessing some desirable qualities. This involves some normative standards against which people's lives can be judged such as virtue (Aristotle, 1984) and success (Tatarkiewicz, 1976). Second, social scientists have focussed on the evaluative aspect which is quite subjective. This subjective aspect has come to be labelled as life satisfaction and relies in the standards of the respondents to determine what is good in life. The global assessment of person's quality of life in the context of his own chosen criteria represents this form of happiness (Shin & Johnson, 1978). The third category of definition comes closest to the way the term is used in everyday disclosure as denoting preponderance of positive affect over negative affect (Bradburn, 1969). However, in general, we may conceive wellbeing as having full and harmonious functions of total personality, realising one's full potential in the world of work with satisfaction and contentment to oneself and benefit to the society.

Several terms have synonymously been used to denote wellbeing such as wellness, mental health, quality of life, happiness, subjective wellbeing and psychological wellbeing with slight difference in their meanings.

Wellness:

Although there might be different views as to what wellness would consist of, a majority of experts agree with the definition given by the National Wellness Institute (NWI) of USA that says that wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choice towards a more successful existence. …

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