Choice and CONTROL
Why is this important for happiness and what does this mean as support workers for the NDIS?
The NDIS provides support workers under many categories. For most, we are employed under Improved Daily Living. This category is used to develop, maintain, or increase skill development. By increasing skill development, evidence demonstrates that we increase feelings of happiness. This funding is to increase independence and community participation.
We all know this is what the NDIS Safeguards Commission states, however, how do we, as Support workers, ensure we are working to empower our participants to live their best life? How do we measure happiness for someone else?
So, what is happiness? And why is happiness important for positive outcomes?
Think of one thing that makes you happy. Do it. Do it more.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it. How many of the people we support can do this?
The feeling of happiness is different for everyone and what makes people happy can be just as unique as each of us. It is not our role to determine what brings happiness, it is our role to recognize what does bring happiness, and to facilitate opportunities for more.
Epicurus (341–270 BC)
Choice and control over all aspects of our life is necessary for us to ensure positive mental health – TO BE HAPPY – eudaimonic – tranquil life characterized by ataraxia – peace and freedom from fear and aponia – the absence of pain.
Our role is not to create unsafe environments or situations for ourselves or others. Hedonistic happiness is where one will seek experiences that bring them happiness at the expense of others. Hedonists possibly do not see that “their happiness” creates chaos for others. Happiness should never be at anyone’s expense, and our role is to facilitate, support and empower client’s choice and control.
Epicurus made the following claims about happiness:
Learned helplessness– by doing for people rather than with them, we are fostering learned helplessness. This in turn takes away the opportunity to create happiness from within.
Control and choice are essential for pleasure and happiness.
As support workers, we work for our participants.
How we can subtly empower those we work with: FOR MANY OF THE PEOPLE WE SUPPORT THEY WILL ENJOY A PREFERRED ACTIVITY. THIS IS AN ACTIVITY OR ACTION THAT TO EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO BE REPETITIVE AND MONOTONOUS. THIS ACTIVITY ALLOWS FOR THE “FLOW” STATE TO BE ACHIEVED.
” In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”
“Flow” state allows that when we can focus on a preferred activity, such as problem solving, it creates space to self-regulate and be in the moment. Flow state for many is a pathway to happiness.
Knowing how to reduce or manage negative emotions or feelings is just as essential for happiness as being happy. As support workers, when we know about the “FLOW” state, we can also empower our participants to recognise when they may need to reduce the sensory and/or environmental stimulus that may cause them to feel overwhelmed. Overwhelm for many of the people we support can lead very quickly to a situation that can cause harm. We always work under the guiding principle of “DO NO HARM”.
Activities that can increase flow state include lego/block stacking, colouring, or solving puzzles. By planning ahead for environments that we know will increase anxiety, accessing internal flow state instantly decreases stress by increasing internal feelings of control. Not all activities we do can be for creating happiness, we know that we need to complete some activities that can cause negative feelings. How we offer support during these times is what makes us special at Flair & Fine Care.