Well-Being in the New Year Through Self-Regulation

   Emotional well being is experienced when you accept your past and present circumstances and utilize  proactive behaviors related to any thoughts and emotions related to these circumstances.  I must emphasize that well-being is not simply being naively happy.  Rather, it is experienced when you acknowledge your fear, anger, sadness, and other disturbing emotions as part of your life story and when you take action to process and manage these emotions, as opposed to denying, feeling ashamed of, or running from these emotions.  Furthermore, well-being results from accepting all emotions, thoughts, and interactions with others as opportunities for tapping into your true higher self, which means that you have the free will and mental power to do the best that you can in each moment of your life.  Well-being results from taking action to do your best.  This is not always easy, and your best may waver from moment to moment.  The key is the intention of doing your best.  Well-being can be experienced in the following 5 areas of your daily life: emotional, physical, social, workplace, and societal. 

                   The 5 Types of Well-Being

     Emotional well-being is experienced as the confidence in your ability to practice effective stress management and coping strategies.  Emotional well-being results from a comprehensive searching into your engrained thought processes which create both satisfying and uncomfortable emotions.  When you have emotional well-being, you accept all moods and emotional states as catalysts for increased and unconditional self-acceptance.  Through this process, you create a resilience, or a buffer, when facing any life event.  You become proactive, focused, and capable of controlling or redirecting your negative thoughts and emotions.  You practice self-love, self-compassion, and self-care, which are all very important stabilizing forces when dealing with stressful situations at work, school, and within your significant interpersonal relationships.  You generate positive emotions through a willingness to learn from your negative emotions, as opposed to hiding them.  You use a mindful, present-focused awareness of all emotions, especially those triggered by painful memories or disappointing current interactions or situations.

     Physical well-being is experienced when you create a personalized behavior plan aimed at healthy eating habits, daily recreational and calming activities, and utilizing your social support system.  Physical well-being is best expressed through the appreciation of your health and ability to control your health.

     Social well-being is experienced when you have done the hard work of exploring your true purpose in life and deeply know your core values and guiding philosophy in life.  Social well-being results largely from utilizing rational, honest, and mindful-of-the-present communication skills within your intimate relationships, work relationships, peer relationships, and family relationships.

     Workplace well-being is experienced when you have identified both your short-term and long-term career goals.  This allows you to stay centered in your work interactions and to continually evaluate your satisfaction and behaviors within your workplace.  By being mindful of the effects of your work environment or work tasks, you will stay vigilant about any obstacles to your mental health and life satisfaction.  This type of well-being also involves the creation and adherence to a career satisfaction behavioral plan, which includes involvement in career-enhancing activities and doing frequent research about various work opportunities.  This behavioral plan will help you to achieve a greater sense of control and empowerment in pursuing your genuine interests, to stay true to your core values, and to do your best to learn from each and every work task.  These accomplishments will also result in a more motivated attitude toward your work performance.

     Societal well-being is experienced when you can let go of ruminating fears and insecurities and can become more mindful and committed to your beliefs about various societal issues.  You can pursue this type of well-being through the willingness to expose yourself to possibly uncomfortable or anxiety-provoking social situations.  By doing this, you will gradually develop confidence in your ability to get involved in community events and to define and promote your core values about the world in general.  

self regulation

                 What is Self-Regulation?

     You can improve and maintain each of these types of well-being by being mindful of your thoughts, actions, and emotions related to each moment.  You will have progress and setbacks in your pursuit of these types of well-being, but the point is to stay focused on acceptance of yourself and on taking action in any circumstance.  When you accept what has happened to you and what is happening to you, you can then only try very hard to do your best.  This is self-regulation. 

     Self-regulation can be best understood as an ongoing process of acknowledging and monitoring thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  Self-regulation becomes particularly relevant when you encounter new events which may trigger your anxiety or desire to isolate.  Self-regulation requires training your brain to focus and refocus each day on thoughts and emotions and then to consciously determine if these are productive and empowering or are self-defeating, irrational, or rooted in past experiences which cannot be changed.  

     You must first clarify the thoughts and emotions which require coping strategies and then create a structured self-regulation plan.  This self-regulation plan is your internal locus of control which can serve as a protective factor in the face of all stressful or painful life circumstances.  Furthermore, this self-regulation plan is both present-oriented and future-oriented and is a potent catalyst for both short-term and long-term goal achievement.  

     Self-regulation affects how a person approaches goals, tasks, and challenges in life.  When you learn and practice self-regulation strategies, you are intentionally embracing a proactive commitment toward your desired life outcomes.  Self-regulation also enables you to be mindful of each moment’s thoughts and actions.  This process is the path of clarity and strength in evaluating past, present, and future events.  Your ability to self-regulate directly affects your daily moods, self-confidence, and task accomplishment.

     Self-regulation is key to becoming and maintaining the vision of your ideal self.  For instance, you can use self-regulation to adhere to a daily budget, to develop and follow a daily nutrition plan, to follow a daily exercise or recreational schedule, and to complete necessary daily academic or work tasks.  When you successfully apply self-regulation to your daily life, you will feel more confident about reaching your desired goals and about managing and overcoming your feared negative outcomes. 

    Self-regulation is an important motivating force and a source of internal control over your relationships, work or academic performance, and progress toward your life goals.  Your self-regulation skills are directly related to your sense of strength and hope. When you become skilled at self-regulation, you can gain a sense of control over your disturbing emotions and thoughts related to both past and present events, as well as on your daily tasks and interactions with family, friends, and other significant people.  In my next blog post, I will specifically outline and describe the 4 primary phases of developing a self-regulation plan for daily living.

  Written by New Age Psychiatry’s Compassionate Therapist: Rebecca Wang-Harris PhD 


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