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Your Psychological and Spiritual Well-Being
After studying this chapter in the text, the student should be able to:
1. Recognize the characteristics of emotionally healthy individuals.
2. Summarize the components of positive mental health that can lead to a happy and
3. Describe the roles of autonomy and self-assertion in boosting self-control.
4. Discuss the impact of spirituality on individuals.
5. Summarize the significance of having a good night’s sleep.
This chapter reports the latest findings on making the most of psychological strengths,
enhancing happiness, and developing the spiritual dimension of your health and your life. It
also explores an often overlooked dimension of physical and emotional well-being: sleep
I. Emotional and Mental Health
A. Psychological health encompasses both our emotional and mental states—that is,
our feelings and our thoughts.
1. Emotional health generally refers to feelings and moods.
2. Mental health describes our ability to perceive reality as it is, to respond to its
challenges, and to develop rational strategies for living.
3. Culture helps to define psychological health. In our diverse society, many
cultural influences affect Americans’ sense of who they are, where they came
from, and what they believe.
II. The Lessons of Positive Mental Health
A. The three major areas of positive psychology are the study of positive emotions,
such as hope and trust; positive traits, such as wisdom and courage; and positive
institutions, such as strong families and democracy.
B. Know Yourself
C. Develop Self-Compassion
1. Self-compassion is a healthy form of self-acceptance and a way of
conceptualizing our favorable and unfavorable attitudes about
ourselves and others.
D. Boost Emotional Intelligence
1. EQ (emotional quotient) is the ability to monitor and use emotions to
guide thinking and actions.
E. Meet Your Needs
1. According to Maslow, human needs are the motivating factors in
F. Boost Self-Esteem
1. Self-esteem is based on what you believe about yourself. It is not
something you are born with; it develops over time.
G. Pursue Happiness
1. Genetics accounts for 50 percent of your happiness.
2. Life circumstances account for 10 percent of your happiness.
3. Forty percent of your happiness depends on what you do.
H. Become Optimistic
1. Optimism is the extent to which individuals expect favorable outcomes
I. Manage Your Moods
1. A mood is a more sustained emotional state that colors our view of the
world for hours or days.
2. The most effective way to banish a sad or bad mood is by changing
what caused it in the first place.
III. Feeling in Control
A. Developing Autonomy
B. Assert Yourself
IV. Spiritual Health
A. Spiritual health involves our ability to identify our basic purpose in life
and to experience the fulfillment of achieving our full potential.
B. Spirituality and Physical Health
C. Deepen Your Spiritual Intelligence
D. Clarify Your Values
E. Enrich Your Spiritual Life
F. Consider the Power of Prayer
1. Some scientists speculate that prayer may foster a state of peace and calm that
could lead to beneficial changes in the cardiovascular and immune systems.
G. Cultivate Gratitude
1. A grateful spirit brightens mood, boosts energy, and infuses daily living with a
sense of glad abundance. How can you let your gratitude grow?
a. Keep a gratitude journal.
b. Record three things you are grateful for every day.
1. Being angry, harboring resentments, or reliving hurts over and over again is bad
for your health in general and your heart in particular.
V. Sleepless on Campus
A. Student Night Life
1. College students are notorious for their erratic sleep schedules.
2. Alcohol compounds many students’ sleep problems.
B. Sleep’s Impact on Health
1. Sleep affects many aspects of daytime well-being.
C. What Happens When We Sleep?
1. Stage 1: A twilight zone between full wakefulness and sleep, the brain produces
small, irregular, rapid electrical waves. Muscles relax and breathing is smooth
2. Stage 2: Brain waves are larger and punctuated with occasional sudden bursts of
electrical activity. Eyes no longer react to light and bodily functions slowly.
3. Stages 3 and 4: Constitute the most profound state of unconsciousness. The brain
produces slower, larger waves; sometimes referred to as “delta” or slow-wave
D. How Much Sleep Do You Need?
1. Normal sleep times range from five to ten hours.
2. Each of us seems to have an innate sleep appetite that is as much a part of our
genetic programming as hair color and skin tone.
E. To Nap or Not to Nap?
1. A late-afternoon nap proved to undo the negative impact on hormones and
immunity of a lost night of sleep.
2. Napping can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.
F. Sleep Disorders
1. Insomnia: A lack of sleep so severe that it interferes with functioning during the
2. Treatments: Relaxation therapy, cognitive therapy, stimulus control therapy,
sleep restriction therapy
G. Breathing Disorders (Snoring and Sleep Apnea)
H. Movement Disorders
I. Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders
J. Sleeping Pills
1. The use of prescription sleeping pills has more than doubled in the
2. Use of any sleeping medication should be carefully considered.
Discuss the concept of psychological health as it relates to the other five dimensions of
health. Can psychological health be separate and distinct from the other components
without affecting them? How so? How does it or doesn’t it contribute to the holistic
model? How do the other dimensions affect one’s psychological health?
Ask students what it means to love and accept themselves. Can one accept and love
another without first loving oneself? How? Why? How does this relate to Maslow’s
hierarchy of thinking?
Ask students what emotional intelligence means to them. Discuss with students how
they might go about developing and strengthening their emotional intelligence. Discuss
the benefits of possessing emotional intelligence. What role does an individual’s EQ
play in their everyday life or career? Ask them which they would rather have, a high IQ
or a high EQ. Why?
Ask students what factors contribute to happiness. Compare these characteristics to
those cited for contributing to good psychological health. Ask students to make a list of
the things that make them happy. Do they think of the things on the list when they
make choices or decisions that may affect their happiness? Why?
Discuss the concept of sleep deprivation as discussed in the text. Ask for volunteers
who have experienced it to share their symptoms or experiences. Ask others to share
the strategies and rituals they use to reduce sleep deprivation and maximize restful
sleep. How might they improve their sleep rituals? Why is it important at this point in
their lives to get enough sleep?
Activity #1: Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
To assist students in identifying their own potential.
This activity will take 10 to 15 minutes.
Introduce to students the idea that not reaching our fullest potential can impact our
1. Introduce to students Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and review the various levels
within this model.
2. Have students make their own pyramid and write a brief statement about how they
have reached each level, or not reached a particular level.
1. Ask students to identify areas that they are meeting.
2. Ask students to identify areas that they are not meeting.
3. How do they feel meeting or not meeting a particular area has influenced their life?
4. Are there areas in life for which students believe meeting each “step” isn’t necessary
to achieve the next level? Why or why not?
5. Ask students to identify someone they believe has reached the self-actualization
Activity #2: Enhancing Self-Esteem
To improve self-esteem.
This activity will take 10 to 15 minutes.
Enhancing self-esteem and personal well-being is a lifelong process.
Have students ask themselves the following questions:
a. How do I feel about my life in general, positively or negatively?
b. Do I constantly send myself negative messages?
c. What is one area of my life that I would like to improve on?
Write two positive affirmations that you will repeat to yourself whenever you feel those
negative or self-defeating thoughts begin to enter your mind.
1. What factors have contributed to your feelings about your life in general, whether
they are positive or negative?
2. Will your positive affirmations help derail any negative observations you have of
3. What role does self-esteem play in the ability to set and establish goals?
References, Readings, and Resources
Jeeves, Malcolm A., and Brown, Warren. Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions,
Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Foundation
Provides an overview of the relationship between neuroscience, psychology, and
religion that is academically sophisticated yet accessible to the general reader.
Nelson, James. Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality. New York: Springer Verlag, 2009.
The past century has seen the relationship between psychology and religion progress
from wary antagonists, to strange bedfellows, to complementary world views.
Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality explores this continuing dialogue.
Pargament, Kenneth L. Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the
Sacred. The Guilford Press, 2011.
From a leading researcher and practitioner, this volume provides an innovative
framework for understanding the role of spirituality in people’s lives and its relevance
to the work done in psychotherapy.
Thoele, Sue Patton. The Courage to Be Yourself: A Woman’s Guide to Emotional Strength and Self-
Esteem. Atria Books, 2011.
Geared to women who too often find themselves meeting the wants of others at the
expense of their own needs, the book provides necessary tools to help readers transform
their fears into the courage to express their own authentic selves.
Brown, Brené. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and
Embrace Who You Are. Minneapolis: Hazelden, 2010.
This book explores living an emotionally healthy life and learning to love yourself.
10 Things You Should Know About Sleep. DVD. New York: Films Media Group, 2009.
Even though many experts recommend eight hours of sleep a night, getting that much
rest often seems impossible. This program offers 10 scientific ways to get quality sleep,
and more of it.
How to be Happy! Positive Psychology in Action. DVD. New York: Films Media Group, 2008.
This program illustrates the application of positive psychology through a powerful
workshop in which participants increase their awareness of what creates happiness by
performing acts of indulgence, altruism, and gratitude.
National Association for Self-Esteem
The purpose of this organization is to fully integrate self-esteem into the fabric of American
society so that every individual, no matter what their age or background, experiences personal
worth and happiness.
National Sleep Foundation
This informative site features information on sleep disorders; healthy sleep, support, and
advocacy; and online resources on sleep.
Authentic Happiness is the homepage of Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive
Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of positive psychology, a
branch of psychology that focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions,
strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.
Answers to Selected MindTap Activities
Global Health Watch
3. insomnia is a 24-hour problem