Emotional Well Being refers to the presence of positive feelings (i.e. happy or feeling interested in life, as well as a general satisfaction with life, being able to experience moments of joy.)


Psychological well being can be divided into six components:

  • Self Acceptance – a positive self concept and ability to acknowledge both the positive and the negative aspects of ourselves.
  • Positive relations with others- having warm, satisfying and trusting relationships with others.  This includes being concerned with the welfare of others, an ability to display empathy, affection, intimacy and compassion.
  • Autonomy – Self determined and independent, being able to resist social pressure to think and behave in particular ways, to know and abide by our own individual standards and values.
  • Environmental Mastery- an ability to take advantage of available opportunities and shape our surroundings to adequately meet our own needs without restricting the freedom and opportunities of others.
  • Purpose in Life- having and pursuing goals, feeling that life has meaning and having beliefs that give life purpose.
  • Personal Growth- continually developing ourselves, recognizing our own potential, welcoming new experiences, and being able to change ways that demonstrate an increased sense of self-awareness and effectiveness.  Being curious.


  • Social Integration – Feeling that we have things in common with others, feeling connected to both a community and the larger society. Having an interest in people and the world around us and a sense of belonging.
  • Social Acceptance- Trusting others, seeing people as kind and generally holding favorable views of humanity.
  • Social Contribution – believing we are important, valued and effective members of society.
  • Social Coherence – Caring about the world we live in and understanding the way things work within it.
  • Social Actualization – Having a hopeful outlook that society is improving, can or will improve. This would also include believing that people can change and that you can change and grow.


As mentioned earlier a fourth type of well being is “Spiritual Well Being”.  Spirituality is about a search for understanding essential core meanings of existence.  It is the aspect of being human that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, the earth and to the significant or sacred.

There are many ways to express and experience spirituality and a connection to the world around you.  For some it make be a matter of faith or belonging to a spiritual community, it might involve prayer, it could involve dancing, singing, chanting, meditation, yoga, hiking, mountain climbing, walking in a park or, staring at the stars.  It is what every helps you feel connected with yourself, with others, the natural world around you and gives you feeling that life has hope, meaning and purpose. Whenever you strive to discover and nurture what gives your life meaning, purpose, hope and a greater connection with the world around you, you are striving to be spiritually healthy. One method, one way, and one size does not fit all.

When you think about the nature of traumatic experiences it is not surprising that some of these aspects of us and our mental health would be challenged.  For example when people who were supposed to care for and look out for us instead hurt us it makes perfect sense that it might affect how we see and approach people and the world around us.

"Everyone has a right to have a present and future that are not completely dominated and dictated by the past" - Karen Saakvitne