Many people have perspectives on what wellbeing is all about. Before exploring the MEWS in detail, it is important to clarify what EEK & Sense mean by wellbeing and how this is experienced by us all.
It is important to recognise that we are all a ‘work in progress’ – because of the changing nature of the challenges we experience as we march through life, we will experience the ‘see saw’ effect at times. So it’s not a case that we can fix our wellbeing and expect it to last us to the grave, it is an ongoing endeavour, we won’t always have it 100% right, and a little self-compassion goes a long way.
- Wellbeing implies a sense of thriving, flourishing, being fully alive, ‘firing on all cylinders’ and living life to the full, as well as feeling balanced and calm, contented and at ease with life.
- Wellbeing is not the simple opposite of illness and there are many degrees of wellbeing and illness: people can be free of symptoms and signs of illness, but still experience malaise and be unhappy with their lives, just as people can be suffering chronic illness, disease or disability and still be oriented towards wellbeing in their social, emotional and spiritual lives.
- Wellbeing has multiple dimensions. The World Health Organisation (2006) refers to physical, social and mental wellbeing. Other factors such as intellectual and spiritual wellbeing are also often included.
- Wellbeing is a dynamic state of being rather than a fixed description of how our lives are; being well is about how you feel rather than how you live and this can change depending on circumstances and events and your response to these. Sometimes, we have the balance right and sometimes we don’t, rather like a see-saw.
- Wellbeing does not mean being constantly happy or in a good mood, with no ups and downs of experiences and emotions. “There are no positives without negatives. There is no light without shadow.” Van Deurzen (2009)
- Wellbeing varies from person to person because each of us has a different combination of psychological, emotional, social and physical inner resources upon which we draw. That’s why some people seem to fare better or worse than others even where their circumstances, opportunities and challenges are similar.
- Other people can’t provide us with wellbeing; we have to achieve this ourselves by taking proactive steps to enhance our wellbeing across all dimensions. We are each ‘in charge’ of our own wellbeing and must exercise our own will, believe in ourselves and take personal responsibility for improving our wellbeing.
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