Too much of our current health system (physical and mental) is focused simply on the elimination of disease, not on health, and especially not on optimal health. This article looks at some of the ways people can attain optimal health - and just what exactly optimal health entails.
This article point indirectly at an integral approach to optimal health - "environmental opportunities and on an individual’s capacity to significantly master his or her own experiences" - and this also includes genetic factors. Interiors and exteriors, individuals and communities/cultures - all must be aligned for optimal health.
01 December 2010 Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
This study demonstrates that emotional and social self-efficacy beliefs may contribute on strengthening major expressions of positive orientation. The more people draw, from experience, their beliefs to be able to properly handle their emotions and their relations with others, the more they can preserve and enhance a positive evaluation of self, life and the future.
Self-esteem, life satisfaction and dispositional optimism have often been associated with well-being and success across various domains of functioning, such as health, academic achievement and job performance. Genetic studies converge with longitudinal and cross-sectional findings in pointing to positive orientation as a basic predisposition that accounts for an individual’s adjustment and achievement. The realization of a potential, in terms of self-esteem, life satisfaction and optimism, depends both on environmental opportunities and on an individual’s capacity to significantly master his or her own experiences. Thus, interventions designed to nurture and strengthen a positive view of oneself, one’s life and the future represent a major challenge for researchers, clinicians and health psychologists. Earlier studies have demonstrated the contribution of emotional and social self-efficacy to positive orientation. However, the contribution of positive orientation to self-efficacy beliefs was not directly assessed. Also, the role of self-efficacy beliefs in fostering change in self-esteem, life satisfaction and optimism was not assessed after the stability of positive orientation was controlled. This study used data from ongoing longitudinal research to examine a nonstandard structural equation model. In this nonstandard model, the ‘specific effects’ reflect the contribution of self-efficacy beliefs to what is unique about self-esteem, life satisfaction and optimism. In the application of this model, positive orientation at the age of 17 years contributes to self-efficacy beliefs in the domain of affect regulation and interpersonal relations at 19 years of age. In turn, self-efficacy beliefs at the age of 19 years contribute to self-esteem, life satisfaction and optimism at 21 years. Positive orientation at 17 years was posited as a basic predisposition affecting emotional and interpersonal self-efficacy beliefs from 17 to 19 years. Emotional and interpersonal self-efficacy beliefs were posited as mediators affecting self-esteem, life satisfaction, and optimism. Stability of positive orientation, the common core component of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and optimism, was controlled for 195 adolescents (47% males) who constituted the final sample. Participants attended the 10th grade at time 1 (age 17 years; 2000), 12th grade at time 2 (age 19 years; 2002), and most attended college at time 3 (age 21 years; 2004). Positive orientation was moderately stable from 17 to 21 years of age. Moreover, positive orientation at 17 years was closely associated with emotional and interpersonal self-efficacy beliefs at 19 years. Self-efficacy beliefs in managing negative affect at 19 years contributed to the specific variance in self-esteem, life satisfaction and optimism at age 21 years, which was not explained by the latent factor of positive orientation. Self-efficacy beliefs in expressing positive emotions instead contributed to self-esteem and optimism, whereas social self-efficacy contributed only to life satisfaction. All the mediated effects of positive orientation through self-efficacy beliefs in managing negative emotions were statistically significant with associated coefficients. Likewise, both the mediated effects of positive orientation on self-esteem and optimism through self-efficacy in expressing positive emotions were significant as well as the mediated effect of positive orientation on life satisfaction through social self-efficacy.
These findings corroborate previous results pointing to the contribution that emotional and social self-efficacy beliefs may exert on strengthening major expressions of positive orientation. Yet the more people draw, from experience, their beliefs to be able to properly handle their emotions and their relations with others, the more they can preserve and enhance a positive evaluation of self, life and the future. These findings suggest that even basic predispositions that are largely inherited can be modified, at least in part. To this aim, social cognitive theory provides unique directions to identify strategies suitable to enable people to make choices and to engage in pursuits that serve mostly to promote their sense of mastery and fulfillment.