Do You Want More Vitality?

Vitality has to do with our feeling of energy or aliveness. On a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (high), what number would you give yourself for Vitality? What number would you like it to be?

It is important to know how to improve our level of vitality for several reasons. In Positive Psychology, it is one of the five (out of 24) Signature Strengths that correlates strongly with satisfaction with life, happiness, and well-being. In addition, it tends to be contagious in group settings. People feel drawn to others that have a sense of aliveness.

In general, you feel energetic when you have good physical health and when there are few psychological conflicts and tensions in your life.

It is important to decrease fear and anxiety for vitality to be present. Poor physical health and high levels of stress tend to use up your energy supply quickly because they can cause worry. There are some exceptions to this. For instance, some individuals who have no fear about a health problem may still have a high energy level.

Vitality is personal; people pursue it differently. When you express your true nature genuinely, positively, and in the present, you feel energized.

Vitality indicates optimal human functioning. It is directly influenced by meeting basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. It is not impulsiveness, anger, or nervous, tense energy from over-arousal or caffeine. Factors that contribute to higher levels of vitality/aliveness are:

• Having a sense of personal mastery and control.
• Being happy.
• Having low depression and anxiety symptoms.
• Having good health practices, i.e. diet, exercise, not smoking, using stress reduction techniques appropriately.
• Getting a good night’s sleep.
• Having a sense of personal worth; seeing yourself as worthwhile and capable.
• Enjoying supportive relationships and intimacy.

Ways of increasing vitality are to seek out:

• Restorative settings, i.e. contact with nature and the arts, listening to music, outdoor challenges.
• Exercise when it is interesting or fun, especially in the morning.
• Positive social contacts.
• Sporting events.
• Things you want to do, not because you have to do them.
• Involvement in an organization that is meaningful to you.
• Your passion – what you love to do.

Having vitality is feeling that spark inside of you in the moment. It is choosing to live life with enthusiasm, savoring and enjoying it. It means choosing to live life fully and positively.

Whatever strategy you choose will work, as long as you are expressing your true nature genuinely in the present moment. Make vitality a priority. The health benefits physically and psychologically are an added plus.

Copyright (c) 2007 Maurine Patten