In Health Psychology, health behaviours are attitudes and predispositions that an individual develops to ensure that he/she does not become ill. Different people take different dispositions to ensure a healthy outcome. Those dispositions include daily exercises, rigorous diets, frequent meditations, regular medical checkups and medications However irrespective of the disposition we adhere to, it is the attitudes, beliefs about control, risk perception, and beliefs about confidence as developed by Ogden (2017) that determine our health outcome.
Our attitude is our established way of thinking about something. As a child, I used to see athletes as genuine people. I admire their appearances and regard them as healthy people. So, to be like them, I was always playing soccer and taking part in sports activities in my school. I see exercising as smart and refreshing.
Meanwhile, I had mates who were obese and took part in no sports activities. Rather, they stayed on the touchline to either clap when I and my mates performed well, or boo us when they felt we weren’t performing well. That sedentary attitude of some students who used not to do any exercises has adverse effects on their health that leads to a negative health outcome.
In summary, our health attitude plays a major role in our health outcome. As children, youths, parents, and grandparents, we must develop a lifestyle that leads to a positive health outcome. To live a sedentary life or adhere to unhealthy lifestyles such as drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy foods, smoking, having unprotected sexual relationships with multiple partners are attitudes that lead to a negative health outcome.
Control is the mastery we have over something, Looking at how some of my friends and relatives are adding up weight and falling ill regularly, I feel I can avoid being ill by persevering in doing exercises and keeping fit to sustain a good health status. My self-motivation coupled with my ability to derive pleasure from exercises allows me to conceive what Ogden submitted as beliefs about control.
Sometimes, I am really busy and going to the gym appears impossible. But the image of me gaining weight and becoming ill or unfit gives me the energy and the drive to improvise a workout plan at home if going to the gym or the field is impossible due to time constraints. I have the belief that I can and must control the outcome of my health and maintain a good body mass index through exercises.
I resist the urge to drink alcohol, eat unhealthy foods, have extra partnership relationships, smoke or adhere to activities that are detrimental to my health. This is not a simple choice, to control oneself and stick to a positive health habit is difficult. But it is achievable if there is determination and focuses on the health outcome.
#3 Risk Perception
Risk perception is the strong feeling that some health habits might have a severe outcome on our health if not controlled. Sometimes I could not do exercises for a very long time. I remember working with an organization that was very far away from my house. I had to leave as early as 4:30 in the morning every day to beat traffic jams and get back home, if early, by 8 pm. It was a well-paid job, and I needed the money. I only had Sunday to rest and could use some minutes out of it to exercise, but I used to be worn out.
Obviously, it would be difficult for anyone to save time for exercises in such situations. This uncomfortable situation lasted an entire year, and I gained weight. I got worried, and I needed to choose between my health and the money. In the end, I quit the job. People did not understand why I had to quit, but I knew it was the right option. I tried to move, but it was not cost-effective. The only way was to quit to resume doing exercises. I believe doing exercise will reduce my weight and keep me healthy. It was then obvious to me I was risking my health by working with that organization.
As explained by Ogden, I had assessed my susceptibility to heart conditions and opted to avoid that from happening. You can’t just be going and coming like a devil, measure the potential health outcomes of your attitudes and habits. You must ask yourself if eating that delicious but unhealthy food continually will lead to a positive or negative health outcome. You must question your lifestyle to avoid cheating on your own health.
Our confidence beliefs are our trust and reliability in the attitudes we develop to guarantee a positive health outcome. I have never doubted my ability to exercise and resist the supposed pain that comes with it. Moreso, I have confidence in the exercises I do will ensure a positive health outcome. Actually, I have developed over the years an aura of confidence vis-à-vis exercising. I am convinced it is beneficial to my health and that I can endure because they could diagnose me with a heat-related illness; I knew it is indispensable for me to avoid illness by resuming exercises.
Bandura (as Ogden submitted) has named this as a high self-efficacy, a state where one feels confident he or she can do anything he wants no matter the circumstances or the challenges for a positive outcome. I was sure I could improve my health status and get my confidence. It is irrelevant how deep we have fallen into the pit of unhealthy habits. What is important is our resolve to regain good health?
In reality, it is quasi-impossible to either persevere in keeping a positive healthy habit or resolve to stop a negative health habit without a genuine load of confidence. A high self-efficacy is indispensable to either keep a positive healthy habit or resolve to stop a negative health habit to develop a positive one. Our beliefs about health determine our behaviour. This behaviour gets subjected to how our actions towards health, how we control our behaviour, how we take precautions to remain healthy, and our beliefs about confidence showed either with a low self-efficacy or high self-efficacy (Ogden, 2017).
In conclusion, Health Psychology informs us in-depth about our inner self by revealing to us the direction we take as regards our health. It reveals to us what the outcomes would be if we decide to develop positive habits or stop negative habits to embrace positive behaviours that guarantee positive health outcomes.
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