The Psychology of Well-Being | BBL Briefer #4

Our virtual Brown Bag Lunches (BBL) are hosted weekly on Thursdays. This 600-word newsletter is a 2-minute read and shares the key takeaways from the event!

Dr Eve Blouin-Hudon is a university instructor at Carleton University in the Department of Psychology, where she teaches courses on creativity, play, and innovation. She is also the founder of Bevy Creative and co-owns Music.Art.Ppl. She is also one of Impact Hub Ottawa’s Coaches!

At this Brown Bag Lunch, Eve outlined ideas around understanding well-being from a psychological perspective – encouraging intentionality, finding balance and expressing creativity as important aspects of living a fulfilling life.

The Big Picture:

In psychology, well-being comes from the interaction between your physical health and the activities you choose to do, relying heavily on the theme of intentionality. For Eve, the truest way to foster a life of well-being is to find balance in life. Balance between introspection, and social exploration, balance in doing what makes you happy, and what makes you satisfied. Truly feeling well can result in mental clarity, vitality, fulfilment and purpose.

Deconstructing well-being

Understanding well-being is subjective and needs to take into account every person’s definition of happiness. A person will feel like they are doing well if they see many positive and few negative emotions in the different aspects of life.

But what about meaning, authenticity and growth? Aristotle popularized the term eudaimonia – the idea that happiness is more than just feeling good. So in finding well-being, we must also pursue meaning and purpose through challenging ourselves, rather than just prioritizing the fun stuff!

Different models have different recommendations for well-being. 

  • The six-factor model prioritizes self-acceptance, positive relations to people, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life and personal growth. 

Meanwhile, the PERMA theory tries to create a bridge between finding positive emotions, while also finding a sense of satisfaction in practising:

  • Positive emotions and feeling good, engagement, strong and positive relationships, a sense of meaning or higher purpose, and finding accomplishment.

So what can we learn from all this?

As was mentioned, well-being is unique to each person, but there is universal importance in finding a balance between positive emotions and building a life of purpose that allows for growth. While pleasure is essential in finding happiness, it is compounded by finding a way to sit in discomfort and still being content in that space.

Seeking creative wellbeing

For Eve, our BBL host, creativity and well-being go hand in hand. Being creative can open up an authentic part of yourself and help your self-confidence grow. Through intentionality, you can become more aware of your emotions, and understand yourself in different environments. 

If you are going through a rough time, engaging in an activity that is fun for you can let you sit in discomfort and better understand how to overcome it. Creativity and play can increase your motivation to persevere while fostering a deeper sense of personal presence.

The bottom line – finding your sense of play!

While balance is central to well-being, so is being intentional in creating time for the self. As an exercise for this week, try creating a psychological play space.

  • Set out a chunk of time, maybe an hour with a timer, so you don’t look at your phone. Then set some rules for your playspace, as specific or broad as you want them to be.
  • The playspace is an anti-productive space; you are there just to ‘be’, to experience, create or express. Read a book, paint a picture, play with some legos – give your mind some time to be free, to engage in creative practice, to self reflect and to be intentional.

Look out for next week’s BBL Briefer on Making Better Connections: Games for Authentic Relating

**Please note, this briefer will become a member-exclusive at the end of January. Consider signing up for a virtual membership to re-connect and level up in 2021.

See you next Friday!

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