Would you Pass a Wellbeing Test?

by Andrea M. Darcy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Tell yourself and others that you are ‘fine’, or ‘totally happy’? Newsflash -- neither means you will pass a psychological wellbeing test.

What is psychological wellbeing?

Happiness and psychological wellbeing are not the same thing.

Yes, happiness can be a part of your wellbeing. But it’s not a measurable thing, nor is it something many of us are honest about. We might say we are happy because we want to fit in, or because secretly, we aren’t even really sure what happiness is in the first place.

Psychological wellbeing is much more measurable and scientific than 'happiness'. It’s about how well you are functioning. A better synonym for wellbeing would be resilience, capability, or purposefulness. And this shows that you can have good mental wellbeing regardless of your mood, and even if you are feeling sad.

Is there really a 'wellbeing test'?

Yes, there is actually a psychological wellbeing test you can do, and you will end up with a wellbeing score.

Here in the UK that test is called ‘the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale”. It’s used all the time, such as by policy makers.

Instead of asking if you are ‘happy’, the Mental Wellbeing Scale asks if you are:

  • feeling optimistic, useful, cheerful and relaxed
  • taking interest in other people
  • having energy to spare
  • dealing with problems well
  • thinking clearly
  • feeling good about yourself and confident
  • feeling connected to other people and loved
  • interested in new things.

Why should I care about my wellbeing?

As you might gather reading the list of things the wellbeing test inquires about, when we have good psychological wellbeing, our life tends to feel better and work better.

We feel good about ourselves and others, and we feel connected instead of lonely. We feel like life has a point, instead of feeling we are drowning in hopelessness.

In other words, the higher our wellbeing, the less our chance of stress, anxiety, and depression.

In fact your physical health might be better along with your mental health -- studies show that if we maintain wellbeing factors in our lives, we get sick less often, and even live longer.

And if I fail the wellbeing test?

The good news about wellbeing is that you can improve yours quite easily.

Start by taking an inventory of things you really like doing, and want more of in life. Make sure you are honest with yourself here. Don’t choose things that you ‘think’ you should like, or your friends like. If all your friends like skiing but you secretly find it boring and would rather be taking a bellydancing class, then go with the latter.

When making your ‘wellbeing list’, try to find at least one activity for each of the following:

  • being active
  • feeling joyful
  • connecting with others
  • connecting with yourself
  • upping your self-care
  • giving life meaning and purpose.

Once you have your list of ‘wellbeing activities’, take a life inventory. When did you last do each activity? When do you next have one scheduled in? How could you make more time in your life for wellbeing activities, and what activities that make you feel tired and unhappy could you give up?

What if I can’t seem to feel good no matter what I do?

Depression and anxiety can block our ability to feel good in our skin, or to feel at ease in the world.

Sometimes we need support to work through our worries and low moods before we can have the energy and interest to work on our wellbeing, or even feel worthy of feeling good.

A counsellor or psychotherapist can help you get to the roots of your anxiety and depression, and can help you identify what actually works for you when it comes to wellbeing.

Ready to make a stand for your wellbeing? And need support to get there faster? Book a therapist now at a price you can afford and start talking.

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