All the other pluses
Updated: 3 days ago
We’ve now examined the five facets of well-being - cultivating Positive emotions, increasing Engagement, nurturing and building Relationships, creating Meaning and a sense of purpose, and celebrating your Achievements. Yet happiness goes beyond just these five elements, which is why Seligman’s Model is often known as PERMA+. The ‘plus’ includes other important areas, such as optimism, nutrition, physical activity and sleep. These areas are equally important to mental well-being.
Optimism is like a sunshine-infused boost for resilience and well-being. It's the belief that life will generally bring more good things than bad. These ‘Pollyannas’ tend to bounce back better from life's many curveballs. Optimists tend to live longer, recover better after surgeries and experience less depression.
Moving your body is a key player in the well-being game. Negative emotions can take a toll on your physical health, and people dealing with mental health issues often tend to be less active. Beyond the obvious physical benefits, staying active also helps reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and loneliness, while sharpening mental focus and clarity.
You've heard the saying, "You are what you eat," right? Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, poor nutrition not only leads to physical health woes but also impacts your mental well-being.
Eating a balanced diet, rich in veggies and nutrients (and going easy on processed and sugary foods), is associated with well-being. Research even suggests that what we eat as kids and teens can influence our long-term mental health, but it’s never too late to better your diet - people who munch on more fruits and veggies tend to report higher levels of well-being.
So, what's on the menu for happiness? Nature packs more punch into "super foods" like berries, avocados, nuts, and seeds. And a Mediterranean diet loaded with veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, fish, and healthy fats not only reduces depression symptoms but also dishes out a heap of physical health benefits.
Quality sleep isn't just about rest - it's a foundation for mental and emotional resilience. Skimping on sleep leads to negative thoughts and emotional vulnerability. Not to mention, poor quality sleep is more likely to affect people with psychiatric disorders and is a risk factor for mental health issues. In particular, insomnia increases the risk of depression.
Getting a solid seven to nine hours of sleep around the same time every night is the ideal. If you’re not getting this, lifestyle tweaks like cutting down on caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, getting some physical activity, reducing screen time, and using the bedroom solely for sleep and intimacy can help your sleep game. Plus, relaxation techniques and cognitive-behavioural strategies to control stress and anxiety can also work wonders for both your sleep and overall well-being.
We can all do with a little more relaxation in our lives, so whether or not you experience stress and anxiety, tonight, you’re going to try a relaxation technique just before bed. This might be in the form of mindfulness meditation or guided imagery downloaded through an app or searched up on You Tube (don’t look at the phone screen, just listen), a few yoga stretches or breathing exercises.
There are so many examples of great ways to reduce stress and anxiety that we’ll discuss in the next post.
Funded by the State Government of Victoria, Business Victoria, Mental Wellbeing of Businesses Grant Round 2.