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Mindset Matters 3: grow wellbeing

grow wellbeing by training your mind


Welcome to our third blog at HeadStart. Today we continue with our exploration of the benefits of training your mind and developing mental skills. Our previous posts have centred on elevating performance and creating skills for success. In this post we discuss how developing mental skills can grow wellbeing in people.


Please note that when it comes to wellbeing all of the writings in this blog are recommendations based on personal experience and what the author has read in psychological research studies. This post is meant as a catalyst of interest for you in how developing mental skills can benefit your wellbeing, not as a guide or set of rules for how to do this (which isn't possible with the complex nature of wellbeing in people). Anyway, on to the fun stuff!


Francis and his brother after an All Whites game - connecting with others and sharing joy to grow wellbeing


what is wellbeing


Well-being is a concept which means something slightly different to each person. However, there are some broad definitions which we will use to outline how training mental skills can help you to grow your well-being. 


World health organisation


Defines well-being as a state in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Wellbeing is more than simply the absence of disease or disorder, it is an integral part of everyday health which allows humans to think well, interact with one another and enjoy life (WHO, 2021).


Positive psychology


Explains that rather than being fixed, wellbeing exists on a continuum. Within this continuum individuals are constantly moving upwards towards flourishing (better wellbeing), or downwards towards languishing (worse wellbeing). Flourishing has been defined as filled with vitality and functioning well in one’s personal and social life (APA, 2024). In contrast, languishing is characterised by apathy and a loss of interest in life (APA, 2024).


International olympic committee


Describes a sense of internal well-being in athletes as:


  • feeling in line with one’s own values and beliefs 

  • feeling at peace with oneself 

  • feeling positive and optimistic about life


So that athletes can embody the feelings of joy and hope, and they give the very best of themselves to achieve their dreams (IOC, 2021) 


Key Point: "wellbeing has many aspects and exists on a continuum"

Train your mind to grow wellbeing


Within the above definitions of wellbeing, there are two areas which are crucial to discuss:


  • Functioning well

  • Feeling good


Both of these areas are affected in you by how you train your mind with mental skills and can be boosted up by finding and using the right practices for you.


area 1 - function well: 


One aspect of well-being is having the ability to function well. This means that you have the capability to:  


  • Overcome the challenges you might face in a day  

  • Thrive in the environments you find yourself in   


Thriving means that you are actively engaging in life, using your mental skills such as values, identity and purpose to act in the ways that are meaningful to you. As actions, this means doing the things you enjoy each day, along with contributing positively to other people (like helping your friends or teammates).  


Overcoming challenges relies on mental skills such as resilience, self-awareness, and motivation. Everyone faces challenges during the day and being prepared to overcome them by using mental skills helps you to function the best you possibly can, even when things get difficult.


Key Point: "functioning well means being able to overcome challenges and thrive in the environments you are in" 

area 2 - feel good:

 

The other aspect of well-being is feeling good. We define this at HeadStart as having positive emotions, being optimistic, and feeling capable in yourself. Mental skills help to build these feelings in you by empowering you with strategies to increase confidence, resilience, and self-awareness.   


When you feel good your mood is elevated and you can enjoy yourself more. You also treat other people better, increasing the quality of your relationships. You flourish as a person (remember the wellbeing continuum from above).  


Some days you might not feel as good, and in these moments using mental skills can really help. They help you regain perspective and control your emotions, as well as providing you with actionable steps to improve how you feel (by for example showing a little bit of gratitude towards someone else).


Key Point: "feeling good comes from being optimistic, keeping perspective, and increasing your capabilities"

Key takeaways

 

wellbeing exists on a continuum and can be positively influenced by training mental skills such as resilience, confidence and self-awareness


functioning well means using mental skills to overcome challenges and thrive in the environments you find yourself in


feeling good comes from developing the mental skills to stay optimistic, keep perspective, and be capable,


Coming next


Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and learning more about the super important topic of wellbeing. I hope you gained some insight which you can share with someone else to help make them feel a little bit better!


Our next post will be a more in-depth post about how we can use sports such as football to teach a sustainable set of skills for success in children.


If you are curious to learn more, or have any feedback, please contact me at: 


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