What is Well-being? The 7 Circles of Well-being

In literature, different definitions and models of well-being have been proposed, tested, and talked about. You can find one of these models, the P.E.R.M.A. model, in my article about Positive Psychology and the Science of Well-being. In a nutshell, this model suggests that our wellbeing is a function of our positive emotions, engagement, relationships, sense of meaning, and accomplishments. I like this model, but I personally prefer a more holistic model of well-being, based both on western and eastern psychology.

From my point of view, approaching well-being from only a psychological point of view is somewhat limited. Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being play an important role in the maintenance of our psychological health but there are other equally important aspects. Physical well-being and spiritual well-being are two of them. I like to tap into Eastern Psychology because it identifies us as being made of energy (or light) and it describes a model of our human energy field based on seven different layers or bodies.

Next, I will introduce you to each one of these bodies.

The Physical Body

The Physical Body is the first layer of our human energy field. As the name suggests, this layer relates to being physically active, through the practise of exercise, but also to being practical and connected with the material world. It is important to look after our physical body by nourishing it with the right food and by giving it the right amount of rest. When you close your eyes, how does your body feel?

The Emotional Body

The Emotional Body is the second layer and it is where we store how we feel about ourselves. This layer is linked to self-love and self-expression. Working at this level means that we check on how we have been feeling about our body (first layer) but also about who we are as an individual. Do you love yourself? Are you happy on your own?

The Mental Body

The Mental Body is the third layer and it is about the way we think. This level is very much worked in cognitive-behavioural therapy, for instances. The quality of our thinking pattern impacts how we feel and how we behave, so learning to notice the quality of our thoughts and ways to gradually transform them are two important skills to develop when working at this stage.

The Astral Body

The Astral Body is about love for ourselves and others. It is about giving but also receiving love. When we work at this layer, we work aspects related to family, friends, colleagues, animals, or even inanimate objects that are somehow special for us. This layer is often associated with conditional love, while the sixth layer (Celestial Body) is associated with unconditional love.

The Etheric Body

The Etheric Body relates to our personality, identity, and overall energy. When we work at this level, we try to look at the bigger picture, express our truth, and know how do we fit in the world. Are you comfortable with expressing who you truly are?

The Celestial Body

The Celestial Body is about the extent to which you love not only those who are close to you but also more distant from you. When we work at this level, we work at how we appreciate others and our relationship with them. This layer is about understanding and dealing with others in a non-judgmental way.

The Divine Body

The Divine Body represents our feeling of being one with the Universe. When we work at this level, we work our connection with something that is “bigger” than us and that allows us to transcend as human beings.

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What Is Positive Psychology? The Science of Well-being

Positive Psychology is a field of study within Psychology that focuses and promotes well-being and happiness. One of its goals is to help people live and perform at their best by putting people’s strengths and virtues to work for themselves and their community. Although it’s a relatively recent field, Positive Psychology has embraced and researched topics that have been promoted through other psychology branches such as Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology.

Positive Psychology is a field of study within Psychology that focuses and promotes well-being and happiness.

Some of the themes addressed by Positive Psychology include character strengths and virtues, positive emotion, resilience, growth mindset, positive relationships, and self-development. Positive Psychology does not deny the existence and importance of psychological issues. It offers instead an approach to problems that is solution-oriented and with a greater focus on what human beings need to thrive rather than only survive.

Thanks to the efforts of Positive Psychology researchers and educators, many models have been developed to describe how individuals may lead more fulfilling and happier lives. For instance, Martin Seligman, often considered the “father” of Positive Psychology, proposes a 5-element model of well-being and happiness that includes Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments. This model has been known as the “P.E.R.M.A.” model and it has been used worldwide. To learn more about it, please consult Martin Seligman’s book Flourish.

Flourishing has been a concept interchangeably used with human well-being in Positive Psychology. Human flourishing can be perceived as a complete state of emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It describes a broad range of states and relevant well-being outcomes such as mental and physical health, happiness and life satisfaction, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and interpersonal relationships. People flourish when they experience positive emotions, positive mental states, and positive relationships with others.

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