The Quality of Life Quotient (copyright2017)
by Heidi D. Hansen, M.A.
The Back Story
I got the idea for this model of mental health some years ago during a time I went through a period of depression and neuralgic pain.
My inner lightbulb had gone out, and all’s I could do was lay in bed under the covers. I had my radio on, listening to The Moth Radio Hour, and TED Talks, and really started noticing that my mind was becoming enriched with that learning, and that felt good. I noticed that my feet felt the comfort of the new soft blanket despite the neuralgic pain. And that my dog and cat, siting on my bed and windowsill, were objects of beauty in and of themselves and noticing that gave me joy, even though the pain and sad continued. I felt glad, even relief, that I could take in learning and beauty and feel such gratitude. I was still alive and that feeling alive was good!
Was I cured of depression or anxiety? No.
Did the neuralgic pain go away? No.
But I felt such an abundance of life gifts that I closed my eyes and prayed a deep thanks to God for these joys and beauties and the learning and the ability to experience them despite the pain and sadness. I asked God to help me use this to help others.
Because you see, it was not a cure for my illness that made me feel joy and glory of life in those moments. I was not cured. Clinical symptoms persisted. Rather, it was the quality of being aware of, and receiving, that which tethered me to what is inherently good about living: Experiencing learning and comfort and meaning. I still have the pain and suffering, but I also have quality of life.
How can one have a good quality of life while experiencing debilitating symptoms of clinical mental illness?
By not focusing on curing the symptoms of the mental illness, but by focusing on enhancing three domains of daily living: Security, Meaning, and Counterproductive Stress.
How we compute small measures across these three domain gives us our Quality of Life Quotient.
Using our QOLQ gives us a tool to measure and reflect and improve the cogwheels that allow our creative willingness to thrive despite mental illness.
In a nutshell, I am saying to those who suffer with mental illness: You can have a life, too!
Ready to compute your Quality of Life Quotient?
________The Quality of Life Quotient:______________________________
First, rate what you feel right now about your quality of life using a scale of 1 to 4.
1 being a really terrible, awful, quality of life. The worst.
2 being this really sucks but I’m still here.
3 being life is generally okay. Could be better, but alright.
4 being really the best a person can hope for.
What is this number? ________
Now, answer yes or no to the following — in the present time, and in a general sense:
— I have safe relationships. yes no
— I have safe housing. yes no
— I have enough healthy food available. yes no
— I have reliable heat and cooling. yes no
— I have healthy sleep and rest. yes no
— I get a healthy amount of exercise and motion. yes no
— I know I can pay my housing and basic utility bills for the next 6 months out. yes no
— I am free from physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse. yes no
— I am sexually healthy and safe. yes no
— I have a do-able plan to help myself in these areas. yes no
How many items did I say “yes” to out of 10: ________
— I have work that provides for at least 50% of my security needs. yes no
— I do work for money that contributes to the better quality of life of others. yes no
— I do altruistic work with my time and skill and talent that betters the lives of others. yes no
— I have faith, a sense of trust that there is a bigger meaning to my life and that things will work out. yes no
— I have friends that are good listeners . yes no
— I have friends that are fun. yes no
— I have friends that will be there for me. yes no
— I am have friends that will let me be a good listener, fun, and there for them. yes no
— I have a family of some sort that gives me a sense of well-being, pleasure, and security. yes no
— I have the kind of stress that pushes and stretches me to become better. yes no
— I have attainable goals and a plan to reach them. yes no
— I am getting more education, training, and learning new things. yes no
— I feel joy just for the sake of joy. yes no
— I notice beauty just for the sake of beauty. yes no
— I have laughter, humor, and fun. yes no
How many items did I say “yes” to out of 15_____
Counterproductive Stress Domain:
— Do I have an emotional crisis beyond what I can with in usual stride? yes no
— Do I have a physical crisis beyond what I can cope with in usual stride? yes no
— Do I have a financial crisis beyond what I can cope with in usual stride? yes no
— I face danger in my life. yes no
— There is danger to the life of someone I care for. yes no
— There is danger to my core values and principles . yes no
— I have lost someone or something close, deeply valued or relied upon. yes no
— My good plans, relationships, or progress is often blocked or sabotaged. yes no
— I cannot change the losses and threats now facing me. yes no
— I have ongoing physical challenges that block my plans and progress. yes no
— I have ongoing emotional challenges that block my plans and progress. yes no
— I have social relationship problems I cannot change. yes no
— I have financial problems I cannot change. yes no
— There are things or people in my life that take away my hope or freedom. yes no
— I face my biggest challenges alone. yes no
How may items did I say “yes” to out of 15? _____
Figuring your Quality of Life Quotient:
What is my Security number? ____
What is my Meaning number? _____
Total of both together:_____
What is my Counter – Productive Stress number: _____
Subtract that from the total above, and the result is: _______
This result is your Quality of Life Quotient.
Compare this number to the number you chose at the beginning (that number was on a scale of 1 to 4. At this time, for the sake of comparison, put a 0 on the end of it). How do these two numbers compare?
Ask yourself: Despite the numbers, are there security and meaning items that shine so brightly that they seem to minimize your counter-productive stressors?
Are there counter-productive stressors so heavy and dark that they overshadow your security and meaningful items?
How does your QOLQ help you have the life you want, despite having a mental illness?
What is your next step to enjoy and enhance your Quality of Life Quotient?
How do you find creative energy and inspiration to work on your plan?
Who can you talk to about these things? Who understands and is safe and encouraging?
Thank you for taking the time here and tending to these things. Take care! — Heidi
_______________________________The Quality of Life Quotient was developed by Heidi D. Hansen, M.A., mental health therapist. Copyright2017. Full package of this test and how to use it is $29.99 plus shipping, use the Paypal buton here to purchase and email Heidi Hansen to tell her where to send it . Email firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you, and be well!