The key drivers of individual wellbeing and how to improve them
21 November 2018
Dr George Margrove, Principal Psychologist at 10x Psychology, outlines a new approach to understanding individual wellbeing, and how to help people improve their health and happiness.
Wellbeing is an incredibly topical issue, whether in the media, the workplace, healthcare, or in people’s personal lives through lifestyle choices, hobbies, habits, and health outcomes. Numerous articles are published which rightly highlight the huge costs to the economy, to businesses, and to the NHS as a result of millions of lost working days, and potentially billions of pounds in costs, from lost productivity, sickness absence, and employee turnover.
However, such articles often don’t define what is meant by “wellbeing” (the term is so ubiquitous it is just assumed that people know), nor do they typically elaborate on how events can impact individuals in different ways, and the circumstances that lead to positive or negative mental and physical health outcomes.
While there is no universal definition of wellbeing, it is often seen as an individual state – and by extension a state of groups or organisations – which is not just the absence of illness, but the presence of positive “wellness”. Further, wellbeing should not just be confined to experiences around health, but be a part of other key areas of life, such as work experiences, relationships, financial security, emotions, and even simple life satisfaction.
At 10x Psychology we have developed a comprehensive “Bio-Psycho-Social” model of wellbeing, illustrating the key themes that are important, as well as a process by which individuals encounter and deal with events that can have an effect on their health outcomes and overall wellbeing.
10x Psychology® Wellbeing Model. © 10x Psychology 2018. All rights reserved
The model shows that an individual may encounter challenging events, at work or in life, which lead to emotional responses. Good lifestyle habits – particularly sleeping, diet, exercise, and hobbies – along with personality type, positive relationships, and life meaning, mean individuals are more likely to behave positively in response. As a result, they are also more likely to be able to cope with stressful events and are more resilient. Positive coping behaviours lead to positive health outcomes, including mental and physical wellness, life and work satisfaction, happiness, and even employee engagement.
However, individuals that fail to cope can suffer from anxiety, depression, job burnout, low engagement and a range of physical health conditions such as rashes, digestive problems, chronic pain, headaches and many others.
Crucially, the model shows that wellbeing is not just related to health outcomes, but is a holistic view of the entirety of an individual’s experiences across all of the above areas. It also shows that there is no one-size-fits-all approach: every person will react to the same events differently, based on their personality, lifestyle, support systems and coping behaviours.
At 10x we are committed to helping individuals (and where relevant, their employers) to make improvements across the key areas of this process. We do this through the following method:
- Collecting data from individuals or companies on the model through surveys and apps
- Analysing the data using our systems which use machine learning to gain insight
- Providing recommendations, nudges and resources on how to improve individual and organisational resilience, lifestyle, coping, health and wellbeing.
While individuals are primarily responsible for their own wellbeing, employers can be crucial in providing positive work environments to support employees, along with learning and development opportunities and support for positive lifestyles and flexible working arrangements. Governments and healthcare providers would also be able to better support individuals by viewing wellbeing at an individual level in the way that is outlined above.
If you would like to know more about 10x Psychology’s approach to individual and organisational wellbeing, please visit our website and register to receive information, and to join our growing wellbeing network.
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by Dr George Margrove, Principal Psychologist at 10x Psychology