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can be heard discussing Positive Psychology here.


Foundations of Well-being for You and Your Family

May 2013

 A question: are you concerned with the psychological well-being of your child? If you are normal, you most certainly replied “yes.”    At the same time, when asked, you might not be able to give an up-to-date definition of what “psychological well-being” actually means.  How psychological well being is thought about today is much more sophisticated than when we were growing up. Being current with this knowledge will enable you to direct your interactions with your family in a healthy manner, enabling everyone to flourish. 

Guided by the best available science, research psychologists have identified seven building blocks of well-being.  Each building block is designed to help a person function healthily.  By understanding and using these building blocks, and by teaching them to your children, you will fulfill your desire to enable your child to be happy and experience well-being throughout his/her life.

The first building block in this foundation is having functional beliefs about yourself, others, and the world.  In order to be functional, these beliefs must work for the benefit of all concerned.  An example of a belief that is beneficial includes everyone in the family knowing they have social worth.  Another example is
adopting a problem-solving orientation within the family, rather believing all problems represent a threat. 

Being able to be mindful and aware of your emotions and actions is another building block in the structure of well-being you can create within your family.  Are you and the members of your family aware of your emotions, actions, external stimuli, and mental processes?  Can each of you label and clarify the exact mixture of emotions that you are feeling at a given point in time?

Taking the perspective of others, also known as empathy, is another part of the foundation.  One way to do this is to encourage all family members to practice shifting perspectives and take the view of an observer. It is also important to be able to stand back and take an objective look at yourselves.  

What are your values and personal strivings?   What do you care about?  Helping your family to know what your values are will help each of you to be autonomous.   If you establish strong family and personal values, you won’t have to worry that your children are being controlled by forces outside of themselves.  And remember that we as parents must ourselves be willing to act in accordance with those values, which at times can be uncomfortable.  Therefore, we must enable ourselves and our children to be able to sustain ordinarily private experiences such as distress and self-doubt in order to obtain greater courage over time.

Are you and your children able to control what you do and say in a way that promotes your goals and values?  Do you exhibit and teach persistence, as well as how to rebound from failure?  Behavioral control is a building block that requires self-regulation, will-power and the ability to modify feelings in an adaptive way. 

 Research shows that real and profound differences can be made in the intellectual abilities of your child when well-being is nurtured.  Encourage all family members to improve their intellectual functioning, particularly in relationship to solving problems and using reason.  Find ways to practice controlling or altering attention, so that it can be shifted at will.  This will enable a flexible mind set.

Focusing on these building blocks can lead you and your family to lives that are well-lived and filled with happiness.  They will help you to commit to actions that improve and enrich each family member, while at the same time maximizing your children’s potential for rich, full and meaningful lives.



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