Автор: Марина Смирнова, психолог

Psychological well-being

The concept of "psychological well-being" describes the state and features of the inner world of a person that determine the experience of prosperity, as well as behavior that produces and manifests situational well-being.

What are the personal characteristics of such an inner picture of the world of personality and style, the way of his life? The answer to this question is already more complicated, because different researchers, even describing similar features of the individual, often use different concepts, different vocabulary.

As the basic components of the psychological well-being of a person, Riff singled out: positive relationships with others, acceptance of oneself (positive assessment of oneself and one’s life), autonomy (the ability to follow one’s own beliefs), competence (control over the environment, the ability to effectively manage their lives), the existence of goals that give life a purpose and meaning, personal growth as a feeling of unceasing development and self-realization.

It seems that approximately the same list can be formulated in other terms, suggesting that psychological well-being is associated with such personal characteristics as self-confidence, adequate self-esteem, a positive outlook on life, benevolence, sociability, emotional stability.

The concept of "psychological well-being" is closely related to such concepts as mental health, meaningfulness of life, to a lesser extent with the notion of "personal adequacy, and with the concept of" mental health "- to a small extent.

No matter how diverse the researchers define psychological well-being, the most important question In the study, P.P. Fesenko was determined not by objective indicators and not by rational evaluation, but rather by emotional coloring of feelings and feelings about his own life. "Low the level of actual psychological well-being is determined by the predominance of negative affect (the general feeling of one’s own unhappiness, dissatisfaction with one’s own life), the high one - by the predominance of positive affect (a feeling of satisfaction with one’s own life, happiness). "


The concept of" psychological well-being "is in turn defined in two terms:" psychological " and "well-being."

Well-being is a person’s condition or an objective situation when a person has everything that favorably characterizes his life in eyes of others, his relatives and himself.

"Well-being" means "receiving man’s benefits." To the benefits that a person received, various things and circumstances can be attributed, the benefits of a wide range: health of his and his relatives, property wealth, good relations with significant people and even good weather in his place of residence.

Social welfare speaks of getting a circle of social benefits and is usually associated with having friends and a loved one, good work, the opportunity to practice hobbies, health, education, and the general standard of living, at least at a general level.

What does the phrase "psychological well-being" mean then?

"Psychological", as a commonly used concept, is given by three key words: internal, not rational, situational. "Psychological" refers to the inner world of a person, but this is something internal, which is not completely rational, which can not be described in a strictly logical way or goes beyond reason and expediency.

When a person is strictly logical, when he has a goal, deliberately chooses the best means and intelligently realizes the plan, it is understandable and rational, here for psychology there is no place, psychology is not needed here. Psychology and psychological - this is about what logic does not fit. That inner, which is strictly logical, is rational. It can also be said in another way: the psychological can not be strictly measured and reliably identified with the help of external signs, in this case the behavioral approach to the phenomenon must be supplemented by a phenomenological approach. As E. Diener writes, "the study of psychological well-being should take into account not only the directly measurable level of well-being, but also take into account the internal, individual coordinate system" (according to PP Fesenko).

In addition, the "psychological" - that determines first of all situational behavior, and not the course of life. The course of life path determines "personal", not "psychological". The personal is something deep, which generates everything else psychological. Psychological - more about personal tools, personal - about ego-identity, motives and direction of personality.

Psychological well-being excludes mental ill health, namely, an unstable, low or directly bad mood, ease of falling into a negative and the difficulty of getting out of the negative. Insults, fears, irritation, fatigue, inability to bear the stress of life ... - these are characteristics of mental and psychological problems. Low emotional tone, hostility, anger, lack of interest in life, problematic psychosomatics and problematic psychological defenses are signs of a weakening of mental health. Neurosis and depression - already obvious mental ill health, obvious psychological trouble.

As P.P. Fesenko writes, "Existing studies in the psychology of the individual do not give an unambiguous answer to this question," but on the basis of his own research the author claims that the meaningfulness of life and the psychological well-being of the individual directly and significantly correlate with each other. According to his data, "all the structural components of psychological well-being are directly correlated with the level of meaningfulness of life and meaningful orientations." Unfortunately, the cause-and-effect relationship in the work of P.P. Fesenko is not clear enough and can give rise to a variety of interpretations. The meaningfulness of life generates psychological well-being or psychological well-being generates an interest in the meaningfulness of life? And maybe, both the meaningfulness of life and psychological well-being are actually independent branches growing from one root, and are equally generated by something third, for example, a common culture of personality? A separate, very interesting question is about the psychological well-being of young children, for whom the question of the meaningfulness of life is not in principle.

It seems that adequacy in this concept is not something main and pivotal: with apparent inadequacy, mental health and well-being are incompatible, although some inadequacy is allowed. If a young girl regularly communicates with Archangel Michael, and the young man begins to eat scraps, addresses with instructions to birds in the field and seriously talks with the fire, a modern psychiatrist will consider that this is still his clientele. On the other hand, Joan of Arc and Francis of Asiz to the mentally unhealthy people are not ranked.

The concept of "psychological well-being" is to a small extent connected with the concept of "mental health". As P.P. Fesenko, "Unlike the concepts of" mental health "and" quality of life, "psychological well-being is not directly related to the presence or absence of any mental or physical ailments. From the concepts of positive mental health, the notions of psychological well-being are not only interesting to the self-actualization aspect, but also to the way in which they are perceived by the person himself, by focusing on the happiness of the person and the satisfaction with himself and his environment. "

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