Sports Psychology, June 06, 2017
As a coach my main goal is to equip my athletes with tools to help them do what they love for the longterm. To achieve this we have to go beyond training sessions and races - we have to unpack your wellbeing. How are you? This isn't a greeting - I REALLY want to know.
When you dig around the literature on the subject of wellbeing and wellness there are plenty of academic theories. One of the most robust and simple is PERMA (developed by psychologist Martin Seligman). This acronym summarises the main elements of wellness......
P - Positive emotions (happiness and JOY)
R - Relationships
M - Meaning
A - Accomplishments.
If you have these 5 aspects then you will have a flourishing mental health which leads to health and productivity in all other aspects of your life. If you have these aspects missing then you will risk "languishing". Languishers are more likely to suffer from illness, pain, and will take more time off engaging in life eg work, and exercise
As wellness is a rapidly new science medical professionals are yet to decide on an international standard measurement. Dr Lucy Hone conducted some research and found over 80 different scales used over 40 countries. There are more evidence studies being conducted to see which measurement scales are valid and reliable but it will be a while before there is a universally accepted one similar to the Body Mass Index (BMI) for body weight.
I have developed a very simple EVERFIT wellness questionnaire that I use for a brief information gathering. There is another measurement tool on Martin Seligman's website with 13 questions that will give you an idea how robust your wellbeing is (www.pursuit-of-happiness.org) It's under the Participate tab - Happiness Quiz.
You can also answer these eight questions which are considered a good test for wellbeing. Simple score from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree)
1) I lead a purposeful and meaningful life.
2) My social relationships are supportive and rewarding
3) I am engaged and interested in my daily activities.
4) I actively contribute to the well-being and happiness of others
5) I am competent and capable in the activities that are important to me
7) I am optimistic about my future
8) People respect me.
You can't manage what you can't measure