What is wellbeing?

In a nutshell, ‘wellbeing’ means being comfortable, healthy and happy. When you are in a state of wellbeing, you are able to truly flourish and thrive. But how do you get there?

It can help to think of wellbeing as a jigsaw with various pieces that create an overall picture of contentment. If one piece is missing, broken or misshapen, then it can affect your happiness as a whole. By thinking of wellbeing in this way, you can carry out a ‘life MOT’ and explore what you need to work on.

With this in mind, here are a few core elements of wellbeing:

Coping with emotions
Experiencing uncomfortable emotions like fear, shame and anger is all part of being human. But when these emotions become difficult to manage, it can affect our wellbeing.

When we are children, we rely on parents and caregivers to teach us how to cope with uncomfortable feelings. However, if those adults were never taught this themselves, we might have to find our own ways to cope. For instance, we might learn to soothe difficult emotions with drugs, alcohol or food. Or we might push those feelings away, stay busy all the time, lose ourselves in fantasies or focus on others while ignoring ourselves. Unfortunately, these coping strategies can end up creating problems of their own.

Emotional wellbeing isn’t about feeling happy all the time, ‘thinking positive’ or blocking ‘bad’ feelings. Instead, it is about learning to manage and cope with uncomfortable emotions when they arise, rather than trying to banish them.

Therapy can help you learn how to do this. And after a while, these challenging feelings can become a useful barometer that teach you about yourself and your deepest desires.

Which therapies can help with emotional coping skills?
CBT, CFT, DBT, ACT, Mindfulness, Art Therapy.


Motivation and performance
Having a sense of meaning and purpose can really enhance your wellbeing. Goals can bring deep satisfaction to life, making each day feel like a step towards something bigger.

Yet for some reason, we can sometimes sabotage our goals. We are not usually doing this on purpose — instead, it’s often totally unconscious. For instance, procrastination, perfectionism and avoidance of rejection can all play their part in blocking our aims. And usually, these behaviours are linked to an underlying fear or anxiety that we haven’t faced.

Therapy can help you to enhance your motivation and performance. The right therapist can guide you in defining your values and goals, identifying your blockages and building your confidence. Eventually, you can learn to partner with yourself in achieving your dreams, rather than being your own secret saboteur.

Which therapies can help with motivation and performance?
CBT, ACT, Mindfulness, Schema Therapy, EMDR.


Physical wellbeing and pain management
Ongoing physical health conditions and pain can have a big impact on your quality of life, leading to suffering, loss and mental distress. Relationships, self-image and your sense of safety can all be affected too.

It is worth bearing in mind that emotional pain can also be felt physically, while childhood trauma can contribute to chronic conditions such as migraines. So when it comes to our physical wellbeing, we can’t ignore the part played by the mind and emotions.

Therapy can help you to explore how your thoughts, beliefs and expectations about pain affect how you experience it. And while it might not be a magic pill that makes it disappear completely, you can find better ways to cope with it. The right therapist can also help you to deal with related issues like job loss, plus offer support while you decide upon the best medical treatments for you.

Which therapies can help with physical wellbeing?
CBT, ACT, CFT, EMDR, Mindfulness, Body-Focused Therapies.


Self-esteem
What we call ‘self-esteem’ is really just our beliefs about ourselves and our own worth. Often, these beliefs develop from childhood experiences and the way we were treated by the people around us.

Low self-esteem can have a huge impact on your life as it is basically a belief that you are unworthy. This sense of unworthiness can affect every decision that you make, from jobs to relationships to goals. It can also affect your ability to assert yourself and set firm boundaries.

Poor self-image can also lead to ‘imposter syndrome’, which is the fear that you aren’t qualified for a role or position and will eventually be ‘found out’. In fact, this is often linked to perfectionism and holding yourself to very high standards. Imposter syndrome can negatively affect your satisfaction in life achievements, making you feel undeserving of applause and praise.

Therapy can help you to build stronger self-esteem and explore the root causes of poor self-image. It can also help you to develop a clearer picture of yourself and make better, healthier life decisions.

Which therapies can help with self-esteem?
CBT, CFT, ACT, EMDR, Psychodynamic Therapy, Art Therapy.


Sleep
When it comes to physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, we can’t really underestimate the importance of a good night’s rest. Yet for many of us, this is an ongoing challenge. What’s more, this can become a vicious cycle, where worrying about not being able to sleep can make the issue worse.

Whether you struggle with falling asleep, waking frequently, nightmares, sleep paralysis, sleep apnoea, sleep walking, night terrors or restless leg syndrome, sleep disturbance can have a big impact. For instance, you might experience physical fatigue, mental sluggishness or irritability. Or you might find that ongoing issues such as anxiety become worse, leading to even poorer rest.

Therapy can help you to develop healthier sleep habits, including learning techniques like ‘sleep hygiene’, relaxation and nightly rituals. It can also help you to explore underlying reasons for disturbed sleep and work out a plan for managing them. Some therapies can also explore the meaning of your dreams, helping you to work through unconscious issues that might be troubling you.

Which therapies can help with sleep?
CBT, Mindfulness, Psychodynamic Therapies, EMDR.


Workplace stress
Most of us spend a good portion of our lives at work. And in any job, we can expect to experience occasional stress, pressures and frustrations. However, when there is too much stress for too long it can leak into every area of our lives, affecting our wellbeing.

Deadlines, threats of redundancy and conflicts with colleagues can all play their part in making work a challenging place. Other issues like workplace bullying can have a real impact on mental, physical and emotional health. You might also find that you have an underlying pattern of personal issues that you bring into jobs, such as perfectionism or people pleasing. Burn-out is another distressing workplace problem that can have an impact on your physical health.

Signs of workplace stress can include sleeplessness, fatigue, irritability, emotional numbness, poor concentration, anger, low mood, depression, stress and anxiety. Some people also turn to drugs, alcohol or food to manage their stress.

Whichever workplace stress you are experiencing, therapy can help you explore the roots and causes. A therapist can also help you to manage day-to-day challenges, find a better work-life balance and make the best career decisions for you.

Which therapies can help with workplace issues?
ACT, CBT, CFT, Mindfulness, Schema Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy.

Your next step

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