3 misconceptions and 5 things you can do to increase them

Wellness. A concept that sounds louder in clinics, articles and probably in the minds of people all over the planet.

The pandemic, which from day to day controlled not only our daily lives but also our health, reliably confirmed this prosperity. mentally and physically they go hand in hand and that receiving them is invaluable capital that pays off for a lifetime.

How to get to it? What questions to consider? What to give priority to? These are just some of the questions that arise, and as knowledge deepens, many questions also fall. myths which are related to it.

Clarion spoke with Maria Roca, psychologist and director of the neuroscience and well-being course at INECO U, the INECO Group’s e-learning platform, to find out what misconceptions we need to drive away and what we can do to improve well-being and happiness.

Youth, money and genetics: 3 misconceptions

– What are the main myths we need to dispel in terms of happiness and well-being?

-The first question is to understand that people are not born happy or unhappy. As with physical well-being, there are many things about emotional well-being that can be taught. You can take a course in stress management techniques, a seminar on careor emotional management.

It is often mistaken to think that the physical is something that can develop and the emotional is not. And exactly what science says is “taking care that these things, both cognitive and emotional, can also be trained, cared for, and somehow prevent problems that may arise in the future.” There are many skills that can promote physical and mental well-being.

“Rest is one of the areas that have the greatest impact on our well-being,” said Maria Roca, a psychologist and INECO U.

But what about what is beyond our control? A person may have healthy habits and not be happy because things are not going the way he wants.

Obviously, there are things that are not under our control and that will affect our well-being, but the more a person works and has these affective problems, the better he will be able to face them; a disease that affects a person who has exercised, who eats healthily, who has not smoked, who copes well with stress is not the same; than a man who didn’t have it all for him.

The same thing happens with emotional well-being, the pandemic has not increased levels of anxiety and depression in the same way in people who may have had adequate emotional management.

There is also the issue of resilience, which is defined as the ability to face a challenging, traumatic, difficult situation and to come out stronger than it, to find a goal in the problem, and this is a source of well-being: for those people who can pass. through a situation and learn something, this correlates with levels of well-being, both physical and emotional.

Having a strong connecting network is one of the most important factors for well-being.  Photo by Shutterstock

Having a strong connecting network is one of the most important factors for well-being. Photo by Shutterstock

– Working on these issues with a person who is already an optimist seems easier than with a pessimist. Is optimism a skill that can be learned?

-There may be a genetic predisposition to one or another form of processing. But they are definitely working, learning variables, obviously those who are optimistic will find all this work much easier and may even come naturally, but those who are not can be trained in optimism.

How? It’s not enough to just realize it, you have to learn to see the positive side of things through specific exercises, such as when you go to the gym: you have to work on it, repeat it, it has to become a habit, the brain learns from repetition.

Both cognitive behavioral psychotherapy and seminars that work on general well-being teach us how to apply this in our daily lives, to have more skills and behaviors that are related to well-being.

“Then the first myth to be shattered is that happiness is something you are born with.” What’s second?

-The second myth that I would like to destroy is the following: that youth brings happiness. Although this idea of ​​”youth, the divine treasure” is circulating, the truth is that the relationship between wealth and age is very complex and depends on various factors.

Those that are most studied are socio-economic factors, and in this sense, what the 2015 Gallup World Survey shows is that in countries where basic needs are met, there is a link between wealth and age. this U-shape. , that is, there are higher levels of well-being at the beginning and end of life.

In the middle (middle age, between 45 and 55) are the worst.

This is thought to be due to the fact that at this stage people tend to feel very much in demand for both work and responsible people, which generates stress. Now that U does not seem to be found in countries where access to health and socio-economic levels is lower, it seems that as life progresses, levels of discomfort increase or well-being decreases.

-Then can the economic level be related to wealth?

-No, this is exactly the third myth that needs to be dispelled. Those who do not have their basic needs effectively covered have lower levels of well-being. Now that these needs are met, you can earn more money, but it has been proven that at a certain level your levels of well-being no longer increase.

Tools for managing rest and stress, treasure capital.  Photo by Shutterstock.

Tools for managing rest and stress, treasure capital. Photo by Shutterstock.

Effective welfare measures

-What measures can contribute to increasing welfare?

-Care for physical health at all levels: exercise, healthy eating and sleep care. In fact, rest is one of the areas that has the greatest impact on our emotional well-being, as caring for our body is essential for our well-being.

In turn, the impact of exercise on mental health is underestimated. We all know that exercise is very good for the heart, but it is not so clear that it helps us cope with stress, it reduces the presence of mood symptoms, which generates protection at the brain level.

-What are the mechanisms by which the exercises are useful for the mind?

-When you exercise, the body releases certain substances, for example at the cognitive level a substance called BDNF is released, which is a neurotrophic factor extracted from the brain, a type of neuronal fertilizer, metaphorically speaking, among others.

All this is related to cognitive functioning, attention, concentration, intellectual, what it generates is a cascade of biological events that are protective for the brain.

Exercise also affects the vascular system, and what supplies oxygen to neurons is the vascular system, so exercise prevents and helps treat cholesterol, and we know that achieving a healthy habit is good for you emotionally.

-Apart from physical health care, what other issues can be addressed?

-Then there are cognitive variables that are related to optimism, working on the positive side of things and learning about it.

The psychologist analyzes that the impact of exercise on mental health is often underestimated.  Photo by Shutterstock.

The psychologist analyzes that the impact of exercise on mental health is often underestimated. Photo by Shutterstock.

Gratitude is another great ally: simple exercises like thinking about things that are good for you and that you are grateful for every morning, add a lot, there is research that shows that keeping a gratitude diary improves your levels of well-being.

also practice caremeditation, disconnection from technology.

Finally, one of the variables that has the greatest impact is the binding dimension, the existence of a support network, the existence of significant quality relationships with people at work, friends and family. Many times, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we do not take the time to do this, but it is one of the variables that most affect well-being.

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