Human values ​​in psychology. What is it, definition, examples

Personality is a complex, multi-layered formation that has its own hierarchy. In Russian psychology, the highest level of personality structure is called orientation. This is a system of values, beliefs and attitudes that are formed during life. They largely guide a person’s activities and determine his attitude towards the world, himself and other people.

The concept of values ​​in psychology

The concept of values ​​in psychology has a dual explanation: first of all, they are determined by the society in which a person is formed, but on the other hand, they are a unique personal perception of the world.

Values ​​are the basis for the formation of subjective beliefs and worldviews, which are determined through the personal experience of each person.

Values ​​are an important aspect in psychology for understanding the basic factors influencing a person’s actions, aspirations and guidelines:

  • they create a lifestyle;
  • indicate priorities and fears;
  • determine development criteria at each stage of life.

The value system develops throughout life, in stages, and covers all levels of human development. For example, preschool age is a critical period for the successful socialization of a child at school.

At this time, the child develops basic values, the internal basis of personality, and the first signs of cognitive change and the development of cause-and-effect relationships arise.

Everything that in the future will form strong beliefs and moral judgments about such concepts as good and evil, respect and work, one’s own destiny.

Thus, based on the process of socialization of the individual and the successful satisfaction of his own needs, a person develops his own values, ideas about how society exists, by what means one can achieve what one wants and how to build relationships with others.

Values ​​are an integral part of the worldview in psychology, which shapes the beliefs of every person. Personal values ​​are the main catalyst for actions, assessments of events and self-realization.

Human values ​​in psychology - what they are, how they manifest themselves.

The problem of values ​​is always relevant and multifaceted - with its help in psychology one can analyze why a personality is formed in one way or another, or study the direct influence of the external environment as one of the key factors that decides the fate of an individual.

Formation of values ​​and value orientations of the individual

The process of forming values ​​and value orientations of an individual is carried out gradually, including a number of components.

Components of the gradual formation of values ​​and value orientations of an individual:

  1. Worldview - this is a person’s system of views on the world around him, his place in society, his attitude towards himself, the people around him and reality, as well as a look at the basic beliefs, principles, ideals and life positions of people.

    A person’s worldview is a general set of views on the surrounding reality, based on a system of beliefs, human existence and philosophy of life.

  2. Reflection - this is a critical reassessment of personal values, in accordance with the general idea of ​​​​the meaning of life.

    Reflection manifests itself in the form of a pause during a person’s activity or his relationships with other people, during which he psychologically evaluates the situation, his behavior and role.

  3. Focus - this is a set of fairly stable motives that orient the activities of an individual in accordance with the situation occurring around a person.

    The direction of personality largely depends on the interests, inclinations, ideals and beliefs of the person. That is why, by its nature, orientation is a multifaceted quality of personality.

  4. Orientation is a process of personal growth and development, which involves the change, formation and integration of all components of personality.

    Orientation is a process of gradual development of personality and its gradual growth in mental and moral proportions.

A mature personality plays a special role in the formation of values ​​and value orientations. That is, the process of personality “maturation” has a direct impact on the formation of values ​​and value orientations. That is why they are considered as the most important characteristic of a mature and formed personality.

Types of values

Types of values ​​have different classifications and always depend on the field in which they are used, be it philosophy, axiology, sociology or political science. In psychology, values ​​are initially divided into material and intangible.

They in turn have many subgroups. The main criterion by which certain values ​​are formed in psychology is the degree of need for something.

All human aspirations can be divided into 5 classes:

  • material;
  • spiritual;
  • social (social and professional);
  • thermal;
  • instrumental.

Material values

Material values ​​in psychology describe the cultural and moral needs of a person.

The formation of material assets is more influenced by:

  • the environment and the ideals and aspirations widespread in it;
  • personal reasons;
  • social opportunities.

In the long term, material values ​​shape human life goals and motives for activity, and help determine the area of ​​employment and one’s own interests. The need to satisfy the needs for money and other material items of existence is different for each person.

People have different attitudes towards the desire to purchase their own home, means of transportation and other comfort items. But for many people, it is material values ​​that are the foundation for development.

After all, having provided material needs, a person can either stop developing, or begin to develop spiritual or social values, the balanced development of which is the basis for the harmonious existence of a person in society.

To talk about the triviality of satisfying material values ​​is fundamentally wrong. Despite the fact that each person simultaneously develops his own values ​​in different areas, if the issue of satisfying material values ​​is closed, the development of other values ​​occurs faster and with better quality.

On the other hand, not every person needs to have a lot of material wealth (for example, a monk), or, on the contrary, a person may not want to develop beyond the accumulation of material wealth. The vector of development is always individual aspirations, which are influenced by many different factors.

Spiritual values

Spiritual values ​​are one of the decisive factors that determine the behavior and aspirations of every person. The definition of a person’s spiritual values ​​refers to his needs, beyond material and physiological needs, that is, to the ethical, aesthetic and cognitive spheres of activity.

The main spiritual values ​​of a person include such aspects of existence as:

  • the possibility of expression of will and creative implementation of one’s own ideas;
  • manifestation of all selfless actions;
  • intellectual development;
  • awareness of social norms of behavior;
  • showing respect for other members of society.

This category of values ​​is more abstract, since it is not aimed at achieving visible and prestigious manifestations of human actions, but rather refers to any intangible manifestation of human existence in the world.

The main goal of spiritual values ​​is to maintain willpower and morale in difficult moments and in conflict situations.

Social values

Social values ​​from a psychological point of view characterize any manifestations of interpersonal relationships.

They form optimal norms of behavior in the environment, helping to take a certain position in society, express one’s own opinion and evaluate what is happening, without fear of being judged by others.

Social values ​​are laid in the foundation of every person’s consciousness; future goals and aspirations for self-realization and satisfaction of one’s own needs grow from them.

Social values ​​are a set of complex attitudes, and psychologists distinguish their three-component structure, which influences the thinking, behavior and reactions of a person in the environment. The formation of a person’s social values ​​is influenced by the character and needs of a person, but they are a reaction to such environmental conditions.


  • historical context;
  • cultural environment;
  • having one’s own interests and searching for opportunities to manifest them in society.

Also, social values ​​have a wide sphere of influence. On the one hand, they extend to political, legal, economic and any other human activity in which he interacts with other people, that is, social values ​​regulate the system of behavior of weak ties in society.

On the other hand, social values ​​regulate the relationship of an individual in his professional activities, interpersonal relationships with family, friends and in relationships in a couple, that is, they determine the rules of behavior in a close communication environment.

The most striking examples of social values ​​that help maintain harmonious relationships are:

  • Love;
  • respect;
  • friendship;
  • kindness;
  • devotion;
  • utility;
  • highest social ideals.

On the other hand, many people have negative social values, such as selfishness, aggression, hatred and envy.

Adhering to such criteria, each person tries not only to develop his own interest in life in society, he also tries to be useful to others.

Terminal and instrumental values

Thermal and instrumental values ​​in human psychology describe the optimal means of achieving goals and aspirations in life. They are the fundamental beliefs of the individual and form the vector of development of human aspirations and goals.

Thermal values ​​lay the foundation for understanding what a person strives for at one time or another in life. Instrumental values ​​relate more to the means and ways of achieving what is desired.

From a functional point of view, instrumental values ​​are realized as standards and criteria for one’s own behavior on the path to achieving thermal values. Instrumental values ​​evaluate conditions and plan steps to achieve final values.

So, for example, decorating a house is an instrumental value, and the resulting feeling of comfort is a thermal value. Playing sports is an instrumental value on the way to achieving the final (thermal) goal - good shape or improved health.

Man is an evaluative animal. How our values ​​affect our mental health

Table of contents

  • Values ​​from a Neurobiological Perspective
  • Values ​​and culture
  • How values ​​relate to psychological well-being and mental health
  • Values ​​and psychotherapy
  • What to read if meaninglessness scares you

One conquers peak after peak and still does not feel like a full-fledged, realized person; another, even in cramped circumstances, enjoys life. What causes these differences?

Our brain is like a complex system designed to solve problems: find a difficulty, set a goal, achieve it, improve adaptation.

However, we set ourselves not only simple tasks (eat, sleep, mate, not die) - give us meaning, intimacy and self-realization. The embodiment of values, in short.

How psychologists explain what values ​​are:

― “Values ​​are socially shared ideas about what is good, right and desirable.” ― “Values ​​are the general tendency to prefer something to something else” (Gert Hofstede). “Personal values ​​are clearly stated, desirable goals that govern how people allocate attention, evaluate events and other people, and explain their behavior and judgments.”

It is values ​​that help us decide what we want; understand what to do to satisfy your needs and how to choose from the surrounding abundance what you really need. Achieving goals is perceived as something important when these goals are significant for a particular person. Therefore, Vasya happily stays late in the office and likes to spend his free time discussing work issues with colleagues, and Petya strives to get away from work as quickly as possible and go fishing - different values, different paths to a feeling of fullness of life.

But Vova doesn’t think about values ​​in principle; he has a different agenda: Vova wants to be happy, like the people in the toilet paper ad with a flushable tube. It seems to Vova that any emotions other than “good” ones are something incompatible with normal life, and he devotes all his strength to not being afraid, not getting angry and not being sad. He falls into the “happiness trap,” as the author of the book of the same name and trainer in acceptance and responsibility therapy Russ Harris calls it, running away from negative emotions instead of thinking about where he would like to go.

“I thought about the meaning of my life, about what I mean to others, what would change if I were not there. But the answers that came to my mind at that time were disappointing. I felt guilty for what was happening to me, and it seemed that the meaning of life was impossible to find or that it was something completely unattainable for me. Questions like this only made things worse.

Until the moment I realized that what was happening to me was not okay and that it required the help of specialists and a lot of work, it was especially important for me to enter a prestigious university, get a higher education, and develop in the field of professional interests. I cared more about how others treated me than what state I was in.

It definitely helped me and is helping me to realize that a person is valuable in itself, and not because of something.”

Sophia (mixed anxiety-depressive disorder and restrictive eating disorder)

“Man is an evaluative animal”

From a neurobiological point of view, understanding values ​​is a complex process. If you put different people in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (fMRI, which is often used in modern brain research) and force them to think about what is important or about the meaning of life, all of them do not activate any one gyrus or tubercle with a fancy name. Our values ​​do not live in any particular piece of the brain, but rather are the result of the coordinated work of complex neural networks.

Nevertheless, scientists love to scan the brains of people in different circumstances, and every year we have more and more data at our disposal, including about what structures are involved in these networks and what functions they perform.

In his course “Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life: Living for What Really Matters,” Professor Vic Stretcher (PhD, MPH) notes an amusing coincidence: in the place where the third eye is traditionally drawn, inside the cranium is located the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which can rightly be called one of the centers of internal enlightenment. The vmPFC processes data about emotions and perceptions of oneself and other people. This area is closely related to socially determined decision making and the results of processing life experiences.

Research on the perception of values ​​and meaning also often involves the orbitofrontal cortex, which works to determine the subjective value of rewards received from the environment. Let's say a person walks past a cafe and sees a photo of a hamburger - in theory, a great tasty treat. But how much does this person need this hamburger at this moment? Maybe the person is full? Or does fast food upset his stomach and eating a hamburger leads to heartburn? The OFK will calculate the answers to these questions.

The wise neural “third eye” is a kind of superstructure over the older parts of the brain, which since ancient times have been responsible for the richness of emotional life. It is they who lay the foundation, without which the understanding of values ​​would be impossible in principle: after all, what is important to us is “good”, this is what is felt as pleasant. And what is unimportant or unacceptable is conditionally “bad” and unpleasant. Emotions, as the main guide to life, help us hear ourselves and realize our true needs.

Thinking about values, in turn, can influence the activation of different parts of the brain and, therefore, our reactions.

For example, thoughts about dear and close people made subjects more receptive to information about a healthy lifestyle, which they usually had a negative attitude towards.

Advice about the benefits of movement, the dangers of smoking and unhealthy food did not cause a strong defensive reaction if the person receiving it first turned to transcendental (allowing one to “surpass oneself”) values. Such thoughts can reduce the activity of the body systems responsible for the stress response (including the amygdala, which likes to be active in people prone to anxiety).

“During my depression, I didn’t see the point in anything. Now I can look back and say that there were still some values. I didn’t want to hurt my loved ones with my actions and thoughts. I responded to their requests. This means that care in relationships was one of the values. By the way, I was constantly thinking about the meaning of life, but I couldn’t find it for myself.

In the second depressive episode, I was more aggressive, I no longer cared about the feelings of loved ones, and my friends did not console me. I found meaning in improving my body, eating disorder appeared, but at least I changed my mind about dying. I isolated myself from society (it seemed to me that I was very fat, I didn’t want to be seen like that), I tried to communicate with people on the Internet. The values ​​were open communication, authenticity; I honestly expressed my thoughts, but I realized that “normal” people did not understand me, as if there was a huge, insurmountable gap between [us].

Friendship was still a value - I began to look for people like myself and found a group of people with mental disorders on VKontakte, and it became my new meaning. I posted thematic posts there about mental disorders and tried to create an atmosphere in which everyone could freely express their thoughts and would not be attacked with slippers for going beyond the “normal”, as was the case with me.”

Marina (depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorder)

Research also shows that an active response of the brain's reward and reinforcement system (specifically its element, the nucleus accumbens) to thoughts of prosocial actions such as helping and gratitude or working on long-term goals in adolescents predicts a decrease in depressive symptoms in the future. If the internal “reinforcer” actively responds to selfish hedonism, this is more likely to indicate a possible increase in depressive symptoms in the future.

Although feelings of well-being in the present are not particularly influenced by externally oriented values, psychological well-being in the long term is more likely to be associated with meanings that go beyond pleasure.

Values ​​are a gift from evolution that help us better regulate behavior based on our intricate needs. Their appearance is associated with the process of social development, therefore, when thinking about values, it is impossible to imagine a spherical self in a vacuum - it is always a story about “I” next to “others”, about oneself in the context of relationships.

Values ​​and culture

Values ​​are developed based on personal experience, but in most cases it is associated with other people. The foundation is laid in the family or other social group in which a person grows. The groups in which we find ourselves throughout our lives (a group of friends, a study group, colleagues, religious organizations), the culture of the country in which we live, shape us, and we shape them.

Group values ​​serve the same purpose as individual ones: to ensure that the group “owner” of these values ​​survives, or better yet, prospers.

People with eating disorders often recall that parents or caregivers literally forced them to eat “by saying ‘I don’t want to’” or insisted on the need to save food. The history of the origin of such ideas about the super value of food often goes back to times of famine, crisis, when the lack of food really threatened life. In response to this, a value was formed at the group (family) level: to save food at all costs. However, when the context of the family’s existence changed to a more prosperous one and there was enough food, this value lost its adaptive meaning.

The need to abandon the maladaptive values ​​of one’s social group is woven into the process of leaving an eating disorder (for example, you have to learn not to eat more than you want, even if you don’t dare throw away half-eaten food). When the disorder goes into remission, values ​​also transform: for example, from “save food” to “save the body and take care of it.”

Some scholars call values ​​the heart of culture, determining not only what we consider important, but also what we consider to be true (“social axioms”, for example, that all people are equal - or that someone is still “more equal”). . However, comparing the values ​​that exist in different cultures is not an easy task for researchers: they are difficult to measure, easy to misinterpret and impossible to ignore. Difficulties can arise at any stage:

  • starting with the search for a representative sample (a group of people that will be truly indicative of the qualities of an entire people);
  • and ending with language barriers (when the same words mean different things or there are no analogues in different languages; for example, Belarusian “love” for beer or TV series and “kahanna” for a partner will be translated into Russian with one word “love”).

Therefore, one should be very wary of claims about differences in the values ​​of representatives of different cultures - even those supported by references to research that found differences between residents of Moscow suburbs and Berlin squats.

In studies of the influence of culture on individual values, the Schwartz value model is often used (you can read more about it, as well as read about the values ​​of Russians, here), which identifies 10 types of values:

  1. self-regulation,
  2. fullness of life sensations,
  3. hedonism,
  4. achievements,
  5. power,
  6. safety,
  7. conformity,
  8. traditions,
  9. benevolence,
  10. universalism.

Interestingly, there is often a correlation between values ​​and the level of GDP of the country in which they were measured. Research shows that differences in values ​​at the individual level are much greater than at the cultural level (country of origin accounts for only 2–12% of individual variation).

Often the difference in ideas about values ​​in different cultures seems to us to be much greater than it actually is. Such perceptual distortions are dictated by our inherent cognitive errors - for example, emphasizing differences (A wears a headscarf, but B does not) and ignoring similarities (both A and B want to love and be loved). In addition, one more important factor must be taken into account: possible differences in behavior through which the same values ​​are realized. For example, spiritual values ​​in one community may be expressed through religious practices, and in another through non-religious development of mindfulness. Nevertheless, the group values ​​of representatives of both communities will be very similar.

“[Due to the disorder] concern for physical well-being and relaxation came to the fore, the importance of motherhood and such roles as housewife, wife, and sexual partner decreased.

There were thoughts that I was living wrong, that I had lost my meaning. Feelings of hopelessness, despair, powerlessness, helplessness.

My reassessment of values ​​did not occur during the disorder/its treatment, but much later, when I had already had a long experience of psychotherapy and had accumulated some knowledge about the social and political structure of the country. With ongoing support from personal and family therapists.

I wonder: if the disorder happened now, what values ​​would help me? I assume those that have come to the fore recently: civic, social and professional activity. I also wonder if all this became important to me, would I have a disorder?”

Tatyana (anxiety-phobic disorder)

The exit is where the entry is: How values ​​relate to psychological well-being and mental health.

No one is immune from a conflict of values ​​or temporary loss of contact with them; the presence/absence of experience working with a psychologist or a diagnosis made by a psychiatrist is not indicative in this sense.

Nevertheless, a feeling of inner emptiness, one’s own worthlessness and lack of meaning in life (up to the desire to end this life) are found among the diagnostic criteria for various diseases (for example, borderline personality disorder and depression).

Loss of contact with values ​​is even called one of the transdiagnostic factors in the formation of mental disorders (that is, this problem is not associated with any specific diagnosis, but rather with psychological distress as such, in its most varied forms). Moreover, this loss can be both a cause and a consequence of psychological difficulties.

On the one hand, the inability to realize one’s values, the absence or distortion of a coordinate system prevents a person from receiving full pleasure and satisfaction from life, and therefore can lead to emotional disorders (for example, anxiety or depression). Thus, a mentally healthy woman who becomes pregnant after multiple IVF attempts and loses her child may face the inability to realize her values, which, combined with the experience of loss, often leads to depression.

On the other hand, emotional disorders (for example, with depression) do not allow one to use feelings as a guide in determining these same coordinates and lead into a dead end of meaninglessness.

“[During the Depression] everything lost its meaning, what was important no longer mattered. Every day was similar to the other, and the heaviness of the meaninglessness of living it hit the psyche very hard.

Before my illness, I took advanced training courses, conducted psychological courses, managed clients, and participated in intervisions. I went to museums and for walks. And all this was very important and valuable for me. When I got sick, I didn’t understand why I got up in the morning if all the days were the same. Learning ceased to be interesting and necessary for me. The work seemed useless, helping others became worthless. I stopped cooking and just warmed up semi-finished foods for the family.

It was a “bed-down” depression: sleeping for 12–16 hours, at first as a way to forget, then I simply could not get up, I was knocked out on the go. It seemed that space was pressing on the whole body, my attention was impaired, I could not read, concentrate, and forgot simple words. The question constantly rang in my head: what am I living for?

I just wanted to sleep, it seemed that existence was devoid of purpose and the only way out was out the window. Suicidal thoughts were very intrusive. When I started treatment, the desire to gain new knowledge and write texts for social networks began to return quite quickly. I wanted to go outside to take a walk and enjoy nature, to have fun. It seems to me that the ability to derive pleasure from familiar activities plays a key role in returning the meaning of these actions.

In illness, the perception of life changes so much that any reference to meaning - both from the outside and from the inside - simply does not work. Only when healthy thinking returns are meanings and values ​​restored. Psychotherapy and/or pharmacotherapy does this.”

Lydia (depression)

Friedrich Nietzsche (although he can hardly be considered an example of psychological well-being) formulated a principle that, in fact, underlies psychotherapeutic work with values ​​and the meaning of life: having a quality “why” will help overcome any “how.”

Understanding the meaning of an activity, the values ​​towards the realization of which this activity is aimed, can give strength and in itself act as reinforcement on the path of life, no matter how thorny it may turn out to be.

Unfortunately, you cannot make something important for yourself through willpower alone. If the peculiarities of the functioning of neurotransmitters or certain parts of the brain are expressed in a decrease in the significance of something for a person, he cannot say to himself: “It is important for me to be a good mother, I will live for my family” and immediately see the meaning and feel satisfaction. Where is the way out? Let's see what solutions psychotherapy offers - using the cognitive-behavioral approach (CBT) as an example.

“During the period of disorder, “normal” well-being became a super value. A certain race appeared, the meaning of which was to retain the forces that exist.

My values ​​- creation, the joy that my hands can do something good - over the course of several years (very gradually) turned against me. Joy is gone (no longer matters). Activity became an escape from something and only took away strength. The meaning was simply lost. What I came up with for myself in order to continue my activities irritated me with its falseness and also deprived me of strength. Looking back, I am amazed at how everything gradually happened, as if unnoticed. I completely stopped dreaming and planning anything.

During the most difficult periods, everything important seemed unattainable. I was pressed by the crystal clarity of the impossibility of changing anything and my powerlessness. This was perceived as the truth, the basis. It's very hard. I repeated to myself that this was not true and did not believe myself. It is important to remember that this is not what defines you, what you see and feel is not the complete picture. Reality is bigger and more interesting.”

Evgeniya (anxiety disorder and depression)

Values ​​and psychotherapy

Working with values ​​in counseling, psychotherapy and coaching is closely related to clarifying the needs that a person cannot meet.

Stephen Hayes, the creator of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, identifies six basic needs (aspirations) that can be the “targets” of therapeutic work: belonging (that is, relationships with others), understanding the world, sensory experience, orientation, competence and free choice.

By understanding what needs are important to us but are not being met, we can determine a course for further movement and make choices in favor of actions that are consistent with this course, using values ​​as a compass.

Appealing to values ​​in CBT helps correct negative beliefs about oneself. For example, a person grew up in a family with a drinking father and was bullied at school, and he began to feel that he was a doormat. The value of “being a good father to your son” can help him overcome the inertia of his usual attitude towards himself and begin to create situations in which this belief can be refuted (for example, effectively caring for the well-being of the child, going hiking with the boy, etc.).

Working with values ​​is also important in the process of behavioral activation (expanding the repertoire of actions in people who, due to psychological difficulties, withdraw into themselves) and exposure (when a person deliberately faces his fears, gradually reducing their significance).

The happiness pill: can a psychiatrist write a prescription to restore the meaning of life?

Since the sense of meaning and value in various aspects of life has a neurobiological basis, it is logical to assume that pharmacological interventions could alleviate the burden of meaninglessness or loss of value. However, unfortunately, not a single drug can guarantee to return the feeling that everything in life is not in vain. Restoring contact with values ​​requires internal work to rethink your place in life. Nevertheless, many people who are faced with mental disorders note that it was thanks to the right medications that they were able to find the strength to, in principle, take the path of this rethinking.

Values ​​studies also play an important role in working with maladaptive rules and attitudes. For example, if a woman has an internal conflict between the learned rule “only motherhood makes a woman complete,” her own professional ambitions and her reluctance to have children, clarifying her values ​​can help determine her course choice for the coming years. And for a client with social fears, who finds it difficult to make romantic acquaintances because of obligations in the spirit of “a real man is always confident in himself and is not embarrassed; women don’t like other people,” it will be easier to find the strength to stop avoiding dating thanks to an understanding of the kind of life he wants to live (for example, receiving and giving love and being sincere in intimacy).

“The depressive emptiness did not go away immediately. The very first insights appeared when I learned the diagnosis. My psychiatrist studied CBT and had conversations with me, thanks to which I realized that my health should be my priority and nothing is more important. A revaluation of values ​​has already occurred here. I began to understand that the desire to quickly achieve some results, demanding the impossible from myself, the desire to be good for everyone led me to depression.

Then it took some time for the medications to take effect. During the first weeks I still felt empty; I had nervous breakdowns and thoughts that I had no future. But from time to time there was a glimmer of hope for recovery; I was already beginning to realize that my negative thoughts were a consequence of the illness and that it would pass.

From time to time I again felt my own insignificance, it seemed that my illness was fictitious. Later, my hopes that everything would get better in life, the belief that everything was fine with me, became clearer. Then suddenly I began to enjoy simple things: good weather, a cup of coffee, delicious food, my hobbies. It has become valuable again to spend time with friends and enjoy communication.

I again had desires, dreams, and finally had confidence that I would succeed. I was glad that I could enjoy life again, which means it has meaning.”

Evgeniya (bipolar affective disorder)

And in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a maximally functional attitude towards values ​​is practiced. For example, the value of “family” in the counseling process is likely to be reformulated into something more practice-oriented. And two key questions help in this: “What kind of person do I want to be?” and “What kind of life do I want to live?”

If you cannot immediately answer these questions, various techniques can be used to discover this internal compass of values:

  • Appeal to bright, positive memories. What was important in the past may still be important today.
  • Addressing pain. Sadness and emotions on this side of the spectrum usually indicate that we have lost something important. What would your heartache say if you listened to it?
  • Understanding mortality. Writing our own epitaph or imagining our funeral helps us understand what kind of mark we would like to leave in the lives of others.
  • Understanding what actions themselves are rewarding. What brings satisfaction, even if it requires work and involves difficulties, is most likely connected with a person’s values.

Viktor Frankl, the founder of logotherapy, one of the types of existential psychotherapy, believed: we ourselves create our own meanings. The responsibility for living a full and satisfying, conscious and meaningful life lies with the living person, no matter what situation he finds himself in. It is possible to rejoice and embody what is important, even in the most dire conditions. Tragic events and losses, somatic and mental illnesses, difficulties or quiet happiness - all this is the scenery against which we stage the play of our lives. They set the tone of the story, but we write the story ourselves.

What to read if meaninglessness scares you

  1. Books by Viktor Frankl (in particular, “Saying Yes to Life: A Psychologist in a Concentration Camp”) and Rollo May - if you are ready for difficult stories, on the basis of which inspiring ideas are born.
  2. “Reboot Your Brain” by Stephen Hayes - if you are looking for practical recommendations on improving your quality of life, getting rid of maladaptive rules and clarifying your values.
  3. “Staring into the Sun: Living Without the Fear of Death” by Irvin Yalom - if the question of values ​​for you is related to the understanding of human mortality or traumatic experiences of loss.
  4. Autobiographies of any people you are interested in. Arm yourself with a highlighter and a pencil - highlight moments in which the authors demonstrated commitment to values. State what these values ​​are. Think about how close they are to you.
  5. Philosophers who searched for the meaning of life according to the nature of their activities.

“There was that very moment of understanding that “something was wrong” with me, and a great desire to feel like myself. I think, from my personal experience, it will help to realize that somewhere behind all this (we are talking about a mental disorder - Ed.) there is a person whom you knew or will still know - he is inside, and you need to get to know him. And he is the one who knows the answers to all questions, and in addition speaks an understandable language, and is available 24/7. And the acceptance that the brain can deceive here and now, frighten and that you need to wait, even if it hurts (or not).

Life with a disorder may be no different from life without it, the main thing is the context. Before the diagnosis, I didn’t know myself at all, but after that everything changed. The flexibility that I had to learn helps to realize oneself and one’s values ​​and live in harmony with oneself, even if this is not a classic scenario.”

Anya (GAD, depressive episode, possible BPD)

The importance of personal values

Values ​​are a fundamental aspect of the formation of a person’s essence in personality psychology.

No less important is the fact that regardless of whether a person is aware of his own values ​​or not, they express the significance of his actions, determine the reliability of a person’s decisions, form the mechanisms of interaction with other people, and also are the basis for self-realization.

Values ​​in psychology play an important role in the development of a person’s individual character traits. Moreover, values ​​are the result of the interaction between an individual and the environment in which he lives.

Their development is influenced by the constant relationship between the influence of subjective perception and environmental factors:

  • the family component as a fundamental aspect of unconscious copying of norms of behavior in society and cognitive models of information perception;
  • media influence;
  • group values ​​(religious, national, youth and political)
  • social status of a person, his family;
  • career success;
  • educational activities (school, university, vocational education and hobbies);
  • level of personal development, success of differentiation and maturation of a person.

Values ​​in human psychology are also a good explanation of his social, cultural and political behavior: in every area important to a person, values ​​perform a specific function of activity that helps to realize the desired and avoid the unacceptable.

Stable individual values ​​have a strong influence on such aspects of personality as:

  • self-awareness and stress tolerance;
  • understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and their development;
  • understanding the social value of one’s own actions;
  • ensuring a high level of communication and team activity;
  • strategic planning, turning plans into reality;
  • adequate analysis of what is happening;
  • self-reflection and willingness to change.

Thus, the assimilation of certain values ​​occurs from early childhood, but due to the active rethinking of life experience, the values ​​of each person can change.

The main catalyst for such changes is new life experience, the process of active rethinking of what is happening, changes in the needs and subjective perception of a person.

Thus, at the level of individual consciousness, values ​​govern a person’s life and activity, underlie any assessments and perceptions, and also influence final decisions.

Attitudes, their types and role in human life

Attitudes are an ambiguous concept; in psychology it is used in two meanings:

  • as a certain, predetermined perspective of perception of reality, events, people;
  • as a predisposition to a certain behavior or type of social activity.

In general, an attitude can be considered as a person’s readiness to perform certain actions and actions. For example, before crossing the road, a person usually automatically checks to see if a car is moving. This triggers an attitude formed in childhood. Or another example: seeing through the window that it is cloudy and windy outside, we dress warmer, as the setting is triggered - if there is wind, then it is cold.

These are the so-called everyday attitudes, and ideological attitudes are in many ways close to beliefs, connected with them and often formed in inextricable unity. For example, a person with nationalist beliefs has attitudes toward perceiving people of other nationalities as less valuable, flawed, and endowed with unpleasant qualities.

Unlike beliefs, attitudes are less conscious. For example, there is such a widespread attitude that the higher a person’s social status, the smarter, more educated, and more professional he is. Therefore, without realizing why, we trust the opinion of our boss more than that of a subordinate or even a colleague.

Types of installations

In psychology, there are 3 types of attitudes depending on their influence on a certain area of ​​activity:

  • Meaningful attitudes relate to the content of our consciousness and include several components: behavioral – associated with the willingness to act in accordance with beliefs; informational, forming a person’s belief system; evaluative, influencing a person’s attitude to the world and expressed in emotions of sympathy and antipathy.
  • Goal settings define the process of goal setting. This type of attitude includes, for example, the idea of ​​the importance of career growth and the need for hard work to achieve success, or the conviction of a girl who associates her future exclusively with marriage. Goal settings support a person’s activity in case of failure and encourage him to start moving towards the goal again and again.
  • Operational settings control the choice of ways and means to achieve a goal. This type is perhaps the least stable. Attitudes change under the influence of the learning process, personal experience, advice from others, information from various external sources (books, the Internet, etc.). No matter how inert a person’s thinking may be, he will never endlessly perform actions that do not bring results, but will try to find something more effective.

The identification of these types is rather arbitrary; in the real consciousness of a person, all attitudes are intertwined and interconnected.

What are group values, examples

Group values ​​in psychology refer to the norms of behavior accepted in a particular society, organization or environment, with the goal of maximizing existence and understanding.

Group values ​​can have different origins:

  • group values ​​as a result of cultural and historical experience (unconscious copying of tradition);
  • group values ​​purposefully created to support the existence of a formal organization (for example, corporate culture in), or an informal movement (for example, rules of solidarity among climbers or youth groups).

Regardless of the scale of group values, their main goal is to create a language of communication and norms of behavior that is understandable to everyone.

Therefore, they regulate social behavior, set criteria for the most important aspects of human existence, give a specific idea of ​​good and evil, justice and beauty - aspects, attitudes towards which may differ in different group cultures.

Examples of group valuesKey Features
Age valuesDepending on age, a person tends to share values ​​characteristic of different demographic groups: schoolchildren, students, youth or retirees.
National valuesThey are characteristic of a certain group of people, regardless of age, professional or social status. National values ​​underlie a person’s identity and self-identification with a certain culture, history and locality.
Sexual valuesCharacteristic behavioral traits that are learned by men and women depending on their gender.
Religious (confessional) valuesThey are part of the values ​​that form a person’s worldview about the patterns and reasons for the existence of the world.
Professional valuesThey are formed in a person depending on the environment of activity. Professional values ​​underlie interpersonal behavior, communication style and teamwork.
Subcultural valuesMore often they are characteristic of the younger generation; subcultures of values ​​unite fellow-thinkers around a common interest in music, games or dance genres.
Social valuesThey underlie accepted norms of behavior among group members and are considered the most basic manifestations of optimal understanding of how to interact with others and how to benefit society.

Regardless of the goal, group values ​​will determine optimal behavior among participants and set the boundaries of what is acceptable and desirable. They are also characterized by stability in consistency and a rigid nature of variability.

Usually, a change in some values ​​by others is accompanied by a crisis and the creation of new rules of behavior. It is also equally important to consider that values ​​acceptable to one group may be assessed by other people as destructive, harmful or false.

Hierarchy of values

In the process of personal formation, each person sets his own hierarchy of values ​​and forms a certain ideal of behavior. Therefore, the question of the difference in the hierarchy of values ​​lies in personal experience and needs, which everyone consciously or unconsciously supports as the main norms of behavior.

By forming a certain hierarchy of values, one can refer to different selection criteria (pleasure, safety, benefit or virtue), because of which the value picture will differ even among peers of the same social group.

For example, health, family or religious values ​​often form the basis of the value hierarchy of the older generation, and they are inferior to others - professional, social or material.

On the other hand, among the younger generation, the emphasis will be on patriotic, professional or material values, while political or religious ones may be completely absent.

It is equally important to consider that the hierarchy of certain values ​​always helps to understand what a person values ​​most and what he is willing to sacrifice in the event of a conflict of value guidelines.

Core Values

How to decide what is truly valuable? To make it easier for you, here is a list of 30 core values ​​that includes yours.

  • Safety
  • Charity
  • Rich Spiritual Life
  • Marriage
  • Fun
  • Power
  • Inner peace
  • Inner harmony
  • High level of service, comfort, convenience
  • Friends
  • Spiritual growth
  • Health
  • Confidentiality
  • Control
  • Beauty, attractive appearance
  • Leadership
  • Love
  • Independence
  • Novelty
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Truth, justice
  • Adventures
  • Travel, tourism
  • Liberty
  • Family
  • Happiness
  • Creation
  • Cleanliness, order
  • Vivid impressions.

How a person’s behavior changes if you know personal values

The value system of each person is able to show what is natural and acceptable for him, and, on the contrary, what a person is not able to tolerate. Therefore, if you know the personal values ​​of each person, then this knowledge can have a double meaning.

Firstly, they help to maximize a person’s professional potential, and secondly, they can also be successfully manipulated.

Thus, if you know a person’s personal values, it helps to predict his behavior, understand priorities and aspirations in his career, relationships, and self-development.

How to apply the created priorities?

Very often, without realizing it, a person may ignore his own basic values ​​(for example, family or hobbies) due to social pressure and the illusory desire for success.

After realizing your own values, it is usually easy to build a hierarchy of priorities, assess your own strengths and weaknesses, and identify potential directions for development and a harmonious life.

Psychology also emphasizes the importance of constantly reminding yourself of what values ​​are important and meaningful to yourself.

Such a reminder is an important technique that always helps you stay on the right path, not get upset over trifles, and maintain your dignity in stressful situations.

Realization of goals. Planning

Once you have set your goals, ask yourself what you want to achieve for each goal over the next 1, 5, 10, 25 years. Each will require an implementation plan.

The plan should provide that to achieve your goal you will do:

  • in the next 3 days;
  • in the coming week;
  • in the next month;
  • in the next six months;
  • in the coming year.

Having made such a plan and begun to implement it, you will realize that eating an elephant is not so difficult. Especially if you break a long-term goal into many small tasks. It’s nice that you can get closer (even if just a step) to your cherished goal this week. And a big beautiful house, a second higher education diploma, a trip to Cuba, a new slender figure, children studying at a prestigious university, fluency in German, and so on (I don’t know what points are in your plan) will not seem so unattainable to you ).

By combining plans for various goals into a single plan, you will see what you need to do next week, next month, next year. Don’t forget to check your plans for each goal every time you make a plan for a week or a month. And, of course, include something in your daily plan by writing it down in your diary. This schedule will allow you to stay in control and remember what you really need to do in your life to achieve what you want.

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