How many times have we been to say “tomorrow I go to the page .. I’m dieting …” or “stop smoking” or still “I cut more time for myself”, so many … and when it comes tomorrow, there is always something that does not and our good intentions remain only words that are not concretized in the facts.
But why do you happen to fail to change the habits we recognize to be wrong? There are several reasons that lead us to keep our lifestyle, but first we try to understand what lifestyles are and what discipline they are studying.
Psychology of Health
Lifestyles represent a set of habits that often structure without the subjects being aware of it, and are being investigated in a specific area of Psychology which is the Psychology of Health. This discipline deals with the subjective well-being of the person and the protection of health as an interest of the community and as the law of the individual. Its most important areas are lifestyles and quality of life, risk behaviors, chronic or severe illness situations. This area has as its own instruments the Promotion of Well-being and Prevention at its various levels.
What factors contribute to the structuring of a certain lifestyle? There are several factors that influence us in the development of habits, first of all our environment, each of us, in fact, lives in a relational context that influences it, so it learns certain behaviors by imitating a significant model. This is mostly unknowingly so often we do not realize when we are starting to establish certain habits and then we are able to implement certain behaviors without ceasing to produce them. In addition, our cognitive system tends to maintain its beliefs for which it often discards information that questions our patterns of behavior, a phenomenon known among psychologists as Cognitive Dissension.
In light of this, we can understand how changing lifestyle is very difficult if implemented alone, as we have seen, both our cognitive system and our environment, tend to maintain behaviors.
And then, what to do? Psychologist can play a central role in caring for lifestyles that promote well-being, avoiding the creation of dysfunctional lifestyles for the subject, going to work on the false beliefs that lay in people about lifestyle, or by setting up itself as a significant model, different from the abitative, to be imitated.
One of the most important aspects of good mental health – freetime activities and good rest. People choose how to spend the time very differently – some of them go for sports, some play casino games (read here and you will understand WHY). It doesn‘t mattter which way you will choose, the most important – try to relax!
Psychologist’s intervention in this area would have two main advantages the first of a cultural type, or it would be beneficial for the population, avoiding medicalizing the concept of health, which is not the mere absence of illness but includes the well-being of the individual at 360 degrees, as already stated by WHO (1948) “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just an absence of illness or illness” and consistent with the EU health policy objectives (European Commission, 2013).
The second advantage is economic, investing in projects to promote wellbeing and primary, secondary and tertiary prevention would avoid the onset and chronicization of certain diseases, thus reducing the need for healthcare and medical care with consequent economic savings, as well as as demonstrated by a recent study by The European House-Ambrosetti, which suggests that investing a euro in prevention can yield three in the course of a decade.
So, as psychologists, we can help not only in acquiring a more functional lifestyle, but also in achieving greater awareness in managing their daily lives.
This month will start a cycle of seminars devoted to the topic, in which I will cover in particular the following areas: work-related stress, cardiovascular and psychosomatic disorders, quality of life in pregnancy.