Last week, in part 1 of the WPIC solution, I began defining a new type of wellness program based on a whole-person integrated-care (WPIC) model, which takes a whole-person (mind, body, spirit, and environment) view of health, and which coordinates sick-care with well-care across the entire healthcare continuum. I included an introductory discussion of the value proposition of such a wellness program and its goals and methods. I also mentioned that (at least) four types of people with different character traits require different approaches to wellness due to their other thoughts, emotions, behaviors, knowledge & understanding, and coping strategies. In this post and future ones, I examine these differences.
DefinitionsSince I'm presenting additional terms, let me take a moment to define them:
- Thoughts refer to a person's attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, assumptions, reasoning, expectations, memories, "self-talk," and other mental processes (i.e., one's cognitions).
- Emotions refer to a person's feelings and moods (i.e., one's affect).
- Behaviors are what a person does (i.e., one's actions).
- Knowledge & understanding are related terms, which I discuss in some detail at this link. Briefly, knowledge refers to information someone knows about essential things, such as relevant people, things, places, times, reasons, rules, and methods. Understanding, on the other hand, is being able to apply that knowledge when doing such things as:
- Explaining, interpreting, discovering, and gaining insights into the nature of things
- Noticing contradictions/inconsistencies
- Using logic and evidence to support decisions, make accurate predictions, and judge/evaluate things rationally and sensibly
- Creating and imagining
- Focusing attention on what's important (i.e., having good situational awareness), being prepared to act, and justifying one's beliefs/hypotheses.
- Coping strategies are adaptive or maladaptive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting when dealing with problematic situations. Following are ten common coping strategies people tend to use. The first five are positive strategies because they help a person solve a problem or learn to accept it with minimal distress. The latter five are negative strategies because they fail to resolve one's issues or enable healthy acceptance.
- Logical Analysis is a positive approach strategy in which a person tries to understand what caused the problem and think of different ways to handle it.
- Social Support is another positive approach strategy in which a person explains the problem to someone or asks others for advice or help. This can help determine what, if anything, can be done to solve it.
- Problem-Solving is another positive approach strategy in which, after logical analysis, a person determines that a problem can be solved and what has to be done to solve it. Then, a specific action plan is created and implemented, and the person learns from the results and modifies the plan accordingly.
- Positive Reappraisal is another positive approach strategy in which a person views a problem as helping him/her change or grow in a good way, find new faith, or learn valuable lessons. This strategy can be used whether or not a problem can be solved.
- Rational Acceptance is a positive non-action strategy in which a person accepts—without undue emotional distress and self-defeating behaviors—that nothing can be done to solve a problem, so s/he does nothing except adopt a rational way of thinking about it, which fosters psychologically healthy acceptance.
- Behavioral Distraction is a negative avoidance strategy in which a person tries to feel better emotionally by doing enjoyable or interesting things rather than trying to solve the problem or cope with it through positive reappraisal and rational acceptance. While it may help reduce one's upset temporarily, this strategy is maladaptive because it will never solve the problem and does nothing to help one cope with it long-term. This strategy wastes precise time that could be better spent trying to understand and deal constructively with the problem rather than letting things get worse.
- Cognitive Avoidance is another negative avoidance strategy in which a person simply acts as if there is no problem or tries not to think about the issue. As with behavioral distraction, the strategy may help reduce one's upset temporarily. Still, it will never solve the problem and does nothing to help one cope with it long-term, as well as wasting precise time.
- Emotional Discharge is another negative avoidance strategy in which a person expresses negative emotions by yelling or crying, taking it out on others, or avoiding certain people or situations. As with the previous two strategies, this one may help reduce one's upset temporarily, but it will never solve the problem and does nothing to help one cope with it long-term. In addition, this strategy may annoy other people, push them away, and waste precise time.
- Wishful Thinking is another negative avoidance strategy in which a person simply hopes a miracle will make things better or that his/her wishes or prayers will be answered. As with the other avoidance strategies, this one may help reduce one's upset temporarily, but it will never solve the problem and does nothing to help one cope with it long-term, as well as wasting precise time.
- Resignation is a negative non-action strategy in which a person determines that nothing can be done, so s/he does nothing while remaining in an emotionally distressed state of anxiety, depression (hopelessness and helplessness), and/or anger.
Describing the Characteristics of Four Types of IndividualsAs I discussed in my previous post, wellness programs should address the particular needs of (at least) four types of people: Activists, Wannabes, Inactives, and Ignorers/Deniers. In this post, I present the Activists. They are most motivated to deal actively and eagerly with health & wellbeing issues and are most likely to take advantage of wellness programs.
ActivistsActivists' attitudes about managing their physical and mental health can be summed up in thoughts such as: "I believe I can do whatever must be done, and I'm willing to do it!" Such views reflect a joy of living and a willingness to take constructive action to reduce fear, uncertainty, and doubt through problem-solving (if their health problems can be resolved) or rational acceptance (if the problems can't be fixed). Activists tend to be confident, motivated, aware, rational, and assertive regarding their character traits. From a whole-person integrated-care perspective, they seek knowledge about their physical and mental health status and risks to help them make wise decisions. And they try to understand how to avoid health problems, self-manage chronic conditions, treat existing problems most safely and cost-effectively, and use their knowledge to live healthy lifestyles. Activists, in other words, are rational people who deal with their physical and mental health problems (existing conditions and risks) by using positive, proactive coping strategies, such as:
- Trying to understand what caused the problems by thinking of different ways to handle it
- Talking to someone about what they are going through and asking certain people for advice or help.
- Determining what must be done to solve a problem and then using a specific action plan.
- Viewing a problem as something that helps them change or grow in a good way, find new faith, or learn valuable lessons
- Rationally accepting when a problem cannot be solved to minimize their emotional distress.