September 5, 2023Health
March 1, 2022Senior care
According to Boston University School of Medicine, one of the major pros of the paleo diet is that it is low in sodium. Though it can be expensive, provided you are supplementing your nutrients it can be of great benefit to anyone who can maintain it. The big question remains, is a paleo diet a good choice for older adults?
What Is Paleo?
Whether you call it the caveman diet, the Palaeolithic diet, or simply the Paleo, it encourages dieters to choose natural foods. Basically, if a caveman could eat it, so can you. This makes the diet high in both protein and animal fats, but low in carbohydrates. The Paleo diet rejects consuming any unnatural foods. The main premise is that if you find it in a box, you can’t eat it. This means the food commonly eaten by Paleo dieters is fish, wild fruit, nuts, eggs, vegetables, and game meats. Calorie counting and portion control aren’t generally taken into consideration.
You absolutely cannot consume legumes, cereal grains, peanuts, wheat, oats, soy, brown rice, rye, kidney beans, black eyed peas, navy beans, or pinto beans. The other no-no’s are sugar and vegetable oils. What is encouraged, though, is exercise. You should be physically active every day, just as the cavemen were.
Is Paleo Safe For Seniors?
The entire premise of the Paleo is that many ailments that we deal with today are due to the diets we eat today. We’ve shunned the diets our ancestors enjoyed to indulge on grains, sugars, or dairy products. The diet is built on this premise, that by eliminating these types of foods you can eliminate ailments, thus prolonging your life, and being healthier.
Research from USC has demonstrated that by reducing carbs it can mimic the same life prolonging benefits that restricting calories does. Additionally, Newcastle University studies show that it can help diabetes eliminate a need to use insulin.
According to McGraw Hill Education, there are nutritionists and dieticians who suggest that humans have evolved to digest foods differently as we grow old. For instance, we know that young people digest milk easily, but as we age, our bodies cannot handle it. Older people get their nutrition from other foods, but babies and children do, thus its importance to them. Moreover, seniors do not need as many calories, and they also face an increased risk of diabetes.
The Paleo Diet is low calorie and it is also low in carbohydrates, thus can address both of the issues that seniors face. Additionally, as it’s low in sodium the Paleo diet is great for the heart and the body.
Qingdao University’s Department of Neurology completed a study showing there is a strong relationship between Alzheimer’s and insulin, and a high carb diet, thus the Paleo diet can help stave off Alzheimer’s.
Additionally, WebMD points to the benefits that the Paleo diet has on weight loss, cardiovascular disease, weight loss, blood pressure, inflammation markers, as well as promoting optimum health.
As with every diet, the Paleo diet is simply a guide, as opposed to a rulebook. Animal fat and protein can be hazardous to your health, so it’s vital that you choose the right types of food when adhering to the Paleo Diet. While it allows for red meat, you should still limit your intake and focus on lean proteins and fish.
The true Paleo diet is impossible to follow, unless you raise wild game and plant your own fruits and vegetables. The food that we eat has been cultivated and then tampered with in a variety of ways. However, adjusting your diet in line with the Paleo lifestyle is still a healthy option. Be careful when you cut key foods from your diet, there is a lot of research showing the value of low fat dairy, beans, and wholegrains. However, with any change in diet, you can take supplements to fill in the gaps.
In essence, yes, the Paleo Diet is an excellent, safe option for older adults.
February 25, 2022Senior care
Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease that is on the rise. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 10 million adults in the U.S. have osteoporosis, while at least 18 million are at risk of developing it. Moreover, a staggering 34 million Americans are at risk of low bone mass, which can lead to osteoporosis, which is defined as brittle and fragile bones caused by a significant loss of tissue.
There are preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of brittle bones, such as physical exercise. Physical exercise is recommended at all times, whether you are young or old, healthy or otherwise Exercises helps to maintain your bones, keeping low bone mass and osteoporosis at bay.
However, if you already have the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, you might be concerned that it is too late to start exercising. The key thing to remember is that it’s never too late. In addition, it’s easy to believe that exercise will only increase the likelihood of broken bones; this is just not true at all.
In fact, the opposite is true; a properly designed workout program can help to prevent easy fractures caused by falling. Exercise strengthens muscles and bones, and it also improves our flexibility and coordination, which not only reduces the risk of fractures from falling, but which can also prevent us from falling in the first place. Of course, you must always ask your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Here are some of the best exercises for osteoporosis:
Lack of time is one of the biggest reasons (or excuses) many of us avoid exercising. For this reason, exercises based around a concept called the 7 Minute Workout become your new best friend. The 7-Minute Workout is a short, rapid-fire exercise that encourages you to use your body weight.
You can get started with something you’re familiar with, such as jumping jacks (or star jumps as they are otherwise known). To do this, stand up straight with spread legs and your hands just touching above your head.
Jump and bring your legs together before putting your arms by your side. You can go fast or slow – it really depends how fit you are.
Wall Sits are remarkably easy to do and fantastic for osteoporosis.
- All you need to do is stand with your back against a wall
- Lean into the wall before sliding down slowly as though you’re about to sit into a chair while ensuring that your knees land above your ankles but bent at precisely 90 degrees
- Start in a plank position on a floor-mat, with your feet pressed together, your hands should be flat and blow your shoulders.
- Bend your elbows ever so slowly while lowering your body down gently towards the floor
- Lower it as far as you can go while making sure your back and hips stay level
- Raise your body back up and repeat for around 30 seconds or so
You can start with a really basic crunch for this one.
- Start by lying flat on your back, keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor and your knees bent
- Tighten your core before pressing your lower back down into mat while reaching with your arms towards your knees
- Return to your starting position before repeating for around 30 seconds or so
- Stand up and face a strong chair
- Step onto the chair with just your left leg before rising to do stand on it with both legs
- When you go to step down, step down with your right leg first, and follow with your left
Try to do as many as you can in around a minute.
February 23, 2022Health
Unfortunately, as we age we tend to believe we are going to hurt ourselves if we start lifting weights. That’s not true! According to WebMD experts, one of the best decisions anybody can make is to start building lean muscle, even at age 50 60 or 70!
Not only does this help you increase your metabolism and burn fat, but it also decreases the risk of serious injury because it’s strengthening your bones, body, and muscle, helping to deter disease, increase bone mass, and make you feel confident and happy in your body and life.
If you are immobile, like in a wheelchair or bed, you can still increase your muscle strength with a modified exercise routine. Even using cans of soup for strengthening your biceps is better than nothing is!
Fact – One of the greatest risks to seniors as they age is falling. A spill could lead to a broken hip or leg, serious injury that could jeopardize your life expectancy and quality of life.
PREVENTION is everything.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states strength training for seniors is both safe and effective. In addition, it’s not just about the physical benefits; the profound impact on your emotional and mental health is immeasurable.
Benefits of Strength Training Help Decrease or Reduce the Risk of…
- Arthritis and chronic joint pain
- Back pain and stiffness
- Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
- Depression and other mental conditions
- Building muscle strength helps to restore balance and coordination that helps prevent falls.
- When we age, this natural process takes away some of our balance and coordination and if you don’t counteract this you are increasing the risk of fracturing something that could be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.
- Strength training regularly and with proper full extension techniques will help you improve your flexibility and balance, which of course supports a lower risk of falling.
A research study conducted in New Zealand discovered strength training in women over 80 decreased their risk of falling by about 40%!
Another key factor for strength training in women over 50 is that post-menopausal women lose about 1-2% of their bone mass yearly. Regular strength training will decrease your risk of fractures considerably.
The Stronger Your Bones The Less Likely You Are To Hurt Yourself
We are all well aware of the battle of the bulge over 50. The more fat you have on your frame the harder it is for your joints to function. The constant strain wears and weakens them, leaving you more likely to trip and fall and injure yourself.
By building muscle, you naturally increase the rate in which your body burns fat, your metabolism, which means your body, is working with you to control your weight and not against you. Making it much easier for you to find your healthy weight and stick to it.
Studies from Harvard University show regularly strength training of just 15 minutes per day, 3 days a week will help improve sleep. In addition, when your body and mind have the chance to rest and restore you are more alert and aware; which of course decreases the chance of getting clumsy and falling or straining yourself which may lead to chronic injury.
There’s no doubt that regular exercise, at least 45 minutes per day that includes cardio and strength training will help improve every facet of your health. Which includes tremendously decreasing your risk of falling and seriously jeopardizing your good health.
Make the decision to take action and start strength training in the name of your good health!
February 10, 2022Health
The human brain is by far the most complicated and intricate thing in the known universe. Our brains are so complicated, in fact that we have yet to unlock all of its inner workings. This incredible piece of equipment is vital in almost every bodily function and largely determines an individual’s quality of life.
Much like the rest of the body, the brain experiences changes throughout the course of a lifetime. Unfortunately, cognitive decline is one of these changes. While it is very important to note that the extent and rate of this decline varies drastically from person to person, there does appear to be some rate of age-related decline across the board.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11.7% of adults aged 65 and older report some level of cognitive decline. However, there are a multitude of controllable variables that work to minimize this impairment. In this article, we will briefly discuss 5 strategies that have been shown to improve and maintain cognition over time.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Even though the brain is the body’s control center, it is still a part of the body itself. Therefore, taking care of the entire system yields significant benefits in terms of brain health and cognition. According to the National Institute on Aging, regular physical activity has been shown to help the brain maintain old neural pathways and even improve the ability to create new ones.
While exercise is important, maintaining a healthy diet is also a key component to brain and overall health in general. In fact, there is a significant body of research suggesting that a healthy diet decreases the chances of developing dementia and other age-related diseases.
Flex Your Thinking Muscle
Another effective strategy to improve and maintain cognitive function is to regularly challenge the brain. As with other forms of exercise, the more a body part is challenged and put to work, the stronger it becomes.
Harvard Health Publishing describes how “brainy” activities such as crossword puzzles, math problems and trying new forms of activity helps the brain to maintain its plasticity, which is the ability to change and adapt to new circumstances.
Limit Alcohol & Tobacco Use
Excess alcohol and tobacco use has long been known to cause a variety of diseases and detrimental effects to the body. It is no surprise that abusing these substances can wreak havoc on brain function and cognition.
How detrimental can excess use of alcohol and tobacco be to cognition? Well, the British Journal of Psychiatry found that individuals who were heavy smokers and drinkers experienced 36% faster cognitive decline compared to those who did not.
Keep Your Headspace Clean
One of the more recent changes in healthcare is the acknowledgement of just how important mental health is regarding overall health and quality of life. Stress, anxiety and depression are all too prevalent in the population and can severely harm bodily function as a whole.
A study cited by the Boston University College of Medicine found that individuals with chronic depression were at significantly higher risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia.
Maintain Social Networks
Human beings are social creatures by nature. We were made to enjoy being in each other’s company, cooperate with other people to achieve more than we could individually and share ideas and stories.
Because of this social nature, maintaining social networks and staying actively involved with friends and peers plays a significant role in brain function. The National Institute on Aging states that engaging in productive and meaningful tasks with others is associated with not only a greater sense of purpose and longer lifespan, these activities are also beneficial in terms of preserving cognitive function.
February 2, 2022Health
Diabetes is a chronic disease that can affect your heart, nerves, and vital organs. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 10% of the United States population currently has diabetes. Both your genetics and your lifestyle can contribute to the risk of developing diabetes.
The CDC also estimates that over 34% of the pollution has prediabetes. While you can’t control your genes, you can take steps to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Being overweight doesn’t always mean you will develop diabetes. Having an average body weight also doesn’t mean that you won’t develop diabetes. What you eat is more important than your body weight. Eating a healthy diet reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
Studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and PLos One show that a diet high in refined sugar and carbohydrates increased the risk for diabetes. Nutritionists recommend replacing sweets and high carbohydrate foods with protein and low carbohydrate options. Examples include:
- Replace potatoes and bread with green vegetables
- Have a small serving of nuts or cheese instead of a candy bar
- Choose whole-grain pasta and brown rice
- Get Moving
Clinical studies reported in the Journals of Gerontology and the American Journal of physiology reported that regular exercise reduces the risk for diabetes. Researchers found that different types of exercise all lower the risk, including:
- High-Intensity Interval Training
- Strength Training
In a study done by the Boston University School of Medicine, researchers found that being sedentary or not moving also increases the risk of developing diabetes. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggest starting an exercise program by finding an activity you enjoy. They also state you should start by going what you can and build up to more extended exercise periods and increased intensity.
- Stop Smoking
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and diabetes. According to a study in the Diabetes and Metabolism Journal, smoking increases the risk for diabetes by an average of 44%. Talk with your doctor about ways to quit smoking. To help you quit, your doctor may recommend:
- Nicotine Replacement Aids – patches, gum, or lozenges
- Medications – to curb cravings and reduce anxiety
- Support – local or state quitline programs
- Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known to help your body absorb and use calcium and other minerals. Vitamin D also reduces the risk for diabetes. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that high Vitamin D levels reduced the risk for diabetes by 43%. A study in the journal Nutrition Research found that 40% of the United States’ pollution has low Vitamin D levels. You can raise your Vitamin D levels by eating:
- Herring and Sardines
- Cod Liver Oil
- Canned Tuna
- Egg Yolks
- Fortified Foods
Foods fortified with vitamin D may include:
- Orange Juice
- Cereal and Oatmeal
- Drink More Water
Drinking more water can reduce how much soda you drink. Soda is high in sugar and empty calories that have no nutritional benefit. A randomized control trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that even replacing diet soda with water reduced the risk factors for diabetes.
Water also lowered diabetes risk more than fruit juice, coffee, or tea with lots of added sugar. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that drinking water resulted in better blood sugar control. Try adding a slice of fruit or using sparkling water to replace other beverages in your diet.
You can reduce your risk of diabetes by eating a healthy diet, drinking more water, getting more exercise, and increasing your Vitamin D level. Quitting smoking helps too. The healthier your lifestyle, the more you will lower your risk for diabetes.
February 1, 2022Health
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted physical distancing that influenced further research into the effect of social isolation on humans. However, social isolation and its problems well widespread even before the pandemic.
A 2018 study by the Pew Research Center found that one in ten Americans felt isolated and lonely most of the time. Socially isolated people lack friends and, as a result, are left feeling depressed and lonely.
While everyone is at risk of being negatively influenced by social isolation, older adults are at an increased risk because they likely have to face more factors such as illness, loss of friends, and living alone. According to a paper from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), social isolation is linked with an increased vulnerability to several mental health issues such as dementia and depression. NASEM also found that more than 1/3 of adults above the age of 45 feel lonely and are considered socially isolated.
The following signs are pointers to the fact that you’re socially isolated
- Avoiding social interactions
- Frequently canceling plans with friends
- Feeling relief when plans with friends are canceled
- Experiencing panic when considering social interactions
- Feeling distressed when alone
- A deep fear or dread of social activities
Recent studies have found strong evidence linking people who are socially isolated with bad physical and mental health.
Although it’s tricky to precisely measure social isolation, there is clear evidence that people who are socially isolated leave their mental health more vulnerable to various issues.
Recent research has observed:
- Social isolation poses an increased risk of premature death from various conditions. This risk rivals that of physical inactivity, obesity, and even smoking.
- Socially isolated individuals are at an increased risk – about 50% – of having dementia.
- Social isolation was linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide.
- People with health conditions are at a 50% more risk of death and hospitalization when socially isolated.
A 2015 study that reviewed the effects of social isolation in life co-authored by Hawkley concluded that social isolation could ruin not only our mental and cognitive health but also our physical health too.
In 2019, Kassandra Alcaraz of the American Cancer Society examined data collected from about 600,000 adults and observed that the risk of premature death was increased with social isolation (American Journal of Epidemiology).
Coping With Social Isolation
Social isolation could lead to several adverse long-term effects on our mental health. However, at some point in life, we might be required to handle social isolation. The following steps can be taken to cope better with social isolation:
- Accept your feelings: It’s easy to ignore our feeling, especially when it comes to social isolation, as you do not have someone to talk to. However, acknowledging your feeling is the first step to handling social isolation better.
- Go outdoors: While a stroll in nature isn’t socializing in itself, it’s immensely beneficial to our mental health and physical health. Sunlight has been proven to help boost our moods, and it contains vitamin D, which helps alleviate signs of depression.
- Pursue your hobbies: Adulthood can make us focus on creating a living and forgetting the things we love. When you’re socially isolated, focus on doing the things you genuinely love. It can be an old hobby or pursuing a previously ignored interest. This redirects your mind from being lonely and focuses it on something positive.
- Self-care: The body reacts to social isolation uniquely. It feels stressed, and this causes problems with our muscles, blood pressure, breathing, and more. It’s important to counteract these responses to stress by paying even more attention to self-care. Take warm relaxing baths, meditate, or listen to soothing music. The trick is finding what works for you and sticking to it.
January 28, 2022Health
Type 2 Diabetes is an endemic problem in many Western societies due to poor diet and exercise. Whilst some people are born with Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes can develop insidiously over time due to being overweight, lacking a balanced diet and lacking regular exercise.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when our bodies become resistant to Insulin, or when we simply don’t produce enough Insulin to control our blood sugar levels. If blood sugar increases to a level beyond where it should be, damage to vital parts of the body can occur.
Long Term Effects Of Type 2 Diabetes
Even though Type 2 Diabetes is manageable through a careful exercise program and a balanced diet, the long-term effects of the illness out of regular control include the following:
- Nerve, organ and blood vessel damage due to high levels of blood sugar in the body,
- Stroke and heart disease risk is increased,
- High blood sugar levels that are not managed can lead to the walls of our arteries and blood vessels become blocked by fats. This can damage our heart muscle over time.
- High glucose levels in our body can also damage nerves and cause burning pain, pins and needles sensations, or tingling in our extremities. If parts of the central nervous system are affected, it can cause vomiting, nausea and other gut related problems,
- The retina behind our eyes is also filled with tiny blood vessels, and it can become damaged by uncontrolled sugar levels and cause a disease called Diabetic Retinopathy. If this continues, vision is impaired.
- Just as the tiny blood vessels in the retina can be damaged, the vessels in our kidneys can also be damaged. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure, which is very serious.
- If the peripheral nerves are affected (those in our extremities) and become numb, we may not feel pain, such as cuts on our feet. This damage, if left untreated, can lead to ulceration and infection.
- Damaged blood vessels can also lead to skin problems and skin infections.
- The tiny nerves and blood vessels in our genitals can also be damaged by unmanaged Type 2 Diabetes. If this occurs, it can lead to sexual dysfunction, including Inorgasmia (lack of ability to orgasm), inability to get an erection in men, lack of sex drive and libido, pain during sexual activity and vaginal dryness.
- Though there is still debate over the mechanisms involved, high and uncontrolled blood sugar seems to contribute to higher risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease,
- Hearing problems in diabetics are also common.
The Many Benefits Of Exercise
Given the potentially serious and insidious nature of many long-term diseases caused by Type 2 Diabetes, how can those risks be mitigated?
Regular exercise is one key element in combatting the effects of Diabetes and managing it long term.
However, what are some of the general benefits of a program of exercise for those suffering with Diabetes? Consider the following benefits:
- Exercise helps to regulate and lower blood pressure
- It helps to control weight and also makes the body burn stored energy more efficiently
- Increased strength and tone
- Exercise can also help to increase bone strength and bone density, making it ideal for seniors suffering with osteoporosis
- More positive mood and emotional well-being
- Increased energy during the day and better sleep at night
Exercises For Seniors With Type 2 Diabetes
Because many such diabetic symptoms occur in older people, it is important to develop exercise programs that are specifically tailored to seniors, taking into consideration the challenges that they face on a daily basis.
However, what could an appropriate exercise program for seniors consist of? Here are some areas to consider:
- Light and moderate aerobic exercise that includes walking, Ballroom Dancing, swimming and/or hydrotherapy,
- Gentle to moderate strength, flexibility and mobility training through a Pilate’s program developed for older people.
Conclusion – Manage Type 2 Diabetes Effectively
Due to the many serious symptoms and diseases that can occur as a result of poorly managed Diabetes, and the appearance of many of the symptoms in vulnerable older people, it’s important to find effective methods to alleviate them.
A gentle to moderate exercise program tailored to the needs of seniors can significantly reduce the risks of Diabetes related disease and help to manage blood sugar levels.
January 26, 2022Health
Vitamins and supplements can be really useful for your body and your health. But which supplements do you really need? According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 77% of Americans take at least one vitamin or supplement every day. Understanding what different supplements are used for can help you chose the best ones for you.
In theory, you should get all the nutrition you need from the food you eat. But many foods today are highly processed and don’t have the same nutritional value as fresh or whole foods. Doctors at Harvard Health state there is no risk of taking a daily multivitamin and it may have health benefits.
In a 10-year study known as The Physicians Health Study II, researchers found a modest decrease of cataracts and cancer in people who took a daily multivitamin. A multivitamin can help you get enough nutrients even when your diet lacks nutritious value.
Fish oil contains Omega-3 acid, which can improve your overall health. Studies in the International Journal of Cardiology, Translational Psychiatry, and Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, among others, point out the potential benefits of omega-3 and fish oil:
- Lower Cholesterol
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Help Manage Parkinson’s Disease
- Weight Management
- Decrease Inflammation
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 75% of adult Americans do not consume enough magnesium. Magnesium is needed for:
- Nerve Transmission
- Muscle Contraction
- Energy Production
- Cell Production
Getting enough magnesium may help with medical conditions including:
- Migraine Headaches
- Muscle Cramps
- Osteoporosis (weak bones)
- Heart Disease
Vitamin D is another essential nutrient that many people lack. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 25% of Americans have insufficient Vitamin D levels in their body. Vitamin D is absorbed naturally from sunlight. But many people spend most of their time indoors, limiting their sun exposure. Vitamin D is necessary for:
- Calcium and Phosphorus Absorption
- Fighting Infections
- Prevent Against Autoimmune Disease
Your intestines have over 100 trillion bacteria that help keep you healthy. According to Harvard Health, the bacteria in your intestines is necessary to:
- Limit harmful bacteria
- Aid digestion
- Absorb Nutrients
- Contribute to immune function
A study in Tropical Life Sciences Research showed that probiotics, or helpful bacteria, may help with diarrhea and constipation. Your body needs the right balance of intestinal bacteria to function properly. Northern Europeans eat a lot of foods fermented with bacteria to stay healthy. Drinks with probiotics added are a big seller in Japan. Doctors in the United States may recommend probiotic supplements to help manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), general health, and even anxiety and depression.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps support your immune system. Aging, stress, disease, and environmental factors contribute to your body’s cell breaking down and becoming free radicals. According to a study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Ophthalmology, free radicals are linked to developing:
- Inflammatory Joint Disease
- Senile Dementia
- Degenerative Eye Disease
Antioxidants like Vitamin C destroy free radicals to limit the damage they can cause to your body. A study in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that taking Vitamin C daily also helped shorten a cold’s duration.
Protein is another essential nutrient. Your body uses protein to:
- Build and Repair Muscle
- Maintain Strong Bones
- Make Hormones
- Produce Enzymes
According to a study in Frontiers in Nutrition, protein supplements can help build muscle in people who work out regularly. Studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the British Journal of Nutrition state that many older adults do not eat enough protein. Protein supplements may include:
- Protein Powder
- Protein Bars
- Nutritional Supplement Drinks
- Foods with Extra Protein
Some manufacturers include extra protein in pancake and muffin mixes, bread, snack foods, nut spreads, and yogurt to help increase protein intake.
January 21, 2022Health
Carol Ryff developed the Six-Factor Model of Psychological Well-Being. In it, she describes that there are six different factors required to help an individual achieve a state of contentment, happiness, and psychological well-being.
Your psychological well-being includes a feeling of meaning, personal growth, autonomy, personal mastery, and positive, personal relationships. To achieve a state of psychological well-being, you must be able to balance the challenge and rewards of life.
What are the six factors?
A high autonomy score would suggest that you are independent and adept at regulating your behavior without societal pressure. If you could sum autonomy up with one statement it would be something like I have confidence in the opinion I hold, even though the general consensus may disagree.
What does self-acceptance look like? It’s having a positive attitude about yourself. If you can utter a statement such as I like my body, or at least most of it, then you’re in a good position in terms of self-acceptance.
More to the point, environmental mastery. Do you effectively use the opportunities presented to you? Do you manage your daily life and create opportunities and situations that benefit your personal needs? This is a bit more challenging to sum up in a statement, but it boils down to feeling happy with your life situation or circumstances.
Are you a goal-oriented person? Do you have values and convictions that you hold firm to? If you believe in what you do, if you feel as though you have a cause, then you are in good shape on the purpose front.
5. Personal Growth
Are you constantly looking to grow? Do you want to develop through new experiences? Do you notice when your behavior improves over time? If you think new experiences are important to challenge your worldview and contribute to personal growth, then you’re doing well.
6. Positive Relationships
Do you have many close relationships? Our ability to forge meaningful relationships that revolve around reciprocal affection, empathy, and intimacy is so important to our overall health and well-being. If you are certain that people would describe you as generous with your time, affection, and attention, then your psychological well-being is in good shape.
The Ryff Scale invites respondents to complete two forms and rate statements based on a scale. The idea behind it is your responses to them give you a good indication as to where your psychological well-being lies.
All types of factors contribute to positive psychological well-being. A happy romantic relationship, meaningful friendships, and job satisfaction. Positivity can also be helpful, even if you are unrealistically optimistic at points. That type of attitude is what helps you navigate criticism and negative feedback.
Likewise, there are negative contributing factors you must contend with as well. Those factors include unhealthy and unhappy romantic relationships, toxic friendships and family dynamics, and an unhealthy work environment.
Beyond those, though, traumatic experiences in childhood can have a major determining factor in your psychological well-being as an adult. Those early experiences can have a damaging effect on children’s resilience that stretches well into adulthood.
According to Ryff’s model, someone who strives for financial success rather than intimacy is likely to score lower on the model. If you want to attain true psychological well-being, then you will build your life to strive for intrinsic aspirations such as meaningful relationships, satisfying work, and personal growth and development.
So, what is it that drives you? Where do your priorities lie? And, more importantly, if you sat down to complete the Ryff Scale forms (https://sparqtools.org/mobility-measure/psychological-wellbeing-scale/), where would your result lie?