General wellbeing, per the World Health Organization, is a state where we can thrive physically, emotionally, and socially. General wellbeing is the sum of two parts — our physical wellbeing and our psychological, or mental, wellbeing. To achieve physical wellbeing is to score high marks for good health, nutrition, and regular movement. Mental wellbeing is more context specific and is made up of both cultural and social elements.
There are three factors that contribute to our mental wellbeing1:
- whether we feel heard
- whether we feel valued
- whether we feel supported
Unlike physical wellbeing, which can be tackled individually, all three of the mental wellbeing factors require the interactions of other people. To feel heard, valued, and supported you must judge interactions with others to score how they respond to you. Mental wellbeing is a communal activity.
"To repeat for those in the back—individuals are not exclusively responsible for their own wellbeing and resiliency. To believe otherwise treats our lived experience as existing within a vacuum." -Michal D. Wolcott
Therefore, our organizations — our tribes — must support mental wellbeing development because "organizational mindset shapes organizational culture2". Positive and negative mindsets act as contagions, easily infecting those around us. As part of our community, our actions help establish the mental wellbeing score of our group. To improve wellbeing, we operate with a growth mindset, allow ourselves to be vulnerable, offer support to our colleagues, and build empathy by recognizing others lived experiences.
The Paradox Pairs series is an exploration of the contradictory forces that surround us. A deeper study finds that these forces often complement each other if we can learn to tap into the strength of each. See the entire series by using the Paradox Pairs Index.
1: Gordon L, Scanlan GM, Tooman TR, Walker KA, Cairns P, Ferguson J, Aitken G, Cecil J, Cunningham KB, Smith KG, Johnston PW, Laidlaw A, Pope LM, Wakeling J. Heard, valued, supported? Doctors' wellbeing during transitions triggered by COVID-19. Med Educ. 2022 May;56(5):516-526. doi: 10.1111/medu.14698. Epub 2021 Dec 9. PMID: 34796541; PMCID: PMC8662221.
2: Wolcott MD. Damaged, discouraged and defeated? How mindset may offer hope for healing. Med Educ. 2022 May;56(5):477-479. doi: 10.1111/medu.14740. Epub 2022 Feb 8. PMID: 35106805; PMCID: PMC9303711.