Whilst browsing through websites and pages of notes, as I do when researching, I happened to come across some really exciting and interesting information that the legendary Marie Jahoda, the late Austrian psychologist, wrote on mental health.
What really interests me about her work is the concept of ‘positive psychology’ which she addresses in her book ‘Current Concepts of Positive Mental Health’. Marie Jahoda was a true warrior; a Jewish woman who survived World War two by fleeing to Austria in 1937. Despite these unhappy circumstances, Jahoda became a woman of great distinction and wrote no fewer than five scientific works and co-authored five others – most notably her work on how unemployment affects communities as a whole and her work on the six characteristics which generally make up mentally healthy individuals.
Marie berates psychologists on the whole for focusing on mental illnesses and not focusing on the more positive aspects of mental health and mental well-being in general. She would have made a great coach. Coaching chooses to focus on keeping you mentally healthy and address your general well-being in order to create mental clarity, stability and resilience.
I have listed the six characteristics of mentally healthy people, as Johoda suggests , and how coaching can either get you there or help you maintain that state of well-being:
1. Effective Self-Perception
Coaching facilitates a learning around how to change your attitude towards yourself. Individuals change their attitude about themselves by observing their own behaviour, and noticing what causes the perceived negative behaviour. Work is then done to change negative perceptions, to positive ones.
2. Self-esteem and Acceptance (which is realistic)
It is of paramount importance that you see yourself as whole, that you respect and love yourself, before you can make any lasting and positive changes to your world. Self-esteem is a set of attitudes, perceptions, feelings, evaluations, opinions and actions directed toward yourself which influences your behaviour. Coaching helps to view yourself in a positive light and accept those things which you may perceive as being negative.
3. Control of behaviour
Behaviour awareness and management is an important tool to help with management on all levels – personally and professionally. Coaches can share behaviour management strategies which have worked with other companies and clients, deeply enhancing the learning process.
4. True perception of the world
The word perception can be deceptive because by nature, we will all perceive things differently based on our filters and past experiences. However, there will be common ground in all our perceptions. Coaches work from the the perceptions you have of the world and your place in it. You may perceive the world negatively because of some present experience, or view your environment as hostile or stifling. A positive thinking space can help you unpack and rebuild why you feel this way – working towards a more realistic perception, based on a clearer frame of mind.
5. Sustaining relationships and giving affection
It is easy to be around someone who is feeling great, however there are very few people in this world who feel great all the time without fail. Strengthening mental health leads to healthy, sustainable relationships with friends and significant others. In the workplace this is also very important and coaches will give you the tools to enhance this state of being and make it sustainable.
6. Self-direction and productivity
I’m sure we have all felt sluggish and unmotivated, many of us feel like this every day which could be sign that not all is well with your general wellbeing. When your values don’t resonate with the values of your company, or if you don’t see how what you do is contributing to the bigger picture, then productivity usually suffers because your motivation is down. To be able to direct yourself on your life-path is what I make sure everyone I coach, is able to do.
If you are eager to explore changes that help you enhance your mental health and wellbeing, please seek me out via my links and let’s get a conversation started.