[formerly published as the Traditional Assessment of Wellness (TAW)]
The APW was designed to help people learn how to live healthier lives, and to learn from research what causes sickness and wellness. The test and research are directed by Wellness Education for Living and Loving (WELL Inc.), a 501c3 nonprofit pursuing this simple mission: to find out what makes us sick, and how to get well. You can learn more about WELL here, at www.mynewlife.com/WELL, and soon at its own website, to-the-well.org.
The personal details, anonymity, and privacy of APW users are well protected. The test is free and anonymous. Test scores are returned to an email address that is given by the person who takes the test, but those wanting maximum anonymity will usually not use their own email. They can give the email address of a friend, relative, or neighbor, so we at WELL Inc. never know whose data we are looking at. These email addresses will never be shared with any other agencies or individuals. Someday others might want access to our database for purposes of their research, or to confirm our conclusions from our data, but the email addresses are not kept with our database. There will be no bulletins, newsletters, or offers sent out to these emails, only information needed by people who have taken the test. Anyone wanting to receive our monthly bulletins will be able to sign up for that on our website, or follow us on social media.
The test does ask personal information about people’s age, gender, occupation, marital status, residential region, etc. This information is required before the test can be scored, and before scores can be returned. But these answers are given in broad categories, so that nothing is precise enough to identify a person. We are researching how these things affect personal wellness.
APW scores are given as percentiles, which show how many out of 100 people probably have less of this trait than the person who has taken the test. These scores are computed from the averages for each scale, based on the test scores of everyone who has previously taken this test. As of October 2023, the normative sample is evenly balanced for males and females, with an average age of 39. About half are married, and most of the sample identifies as Christian. It is a rather highly educated sample, but income levels are fairly balanced. Since the test is still new and the normative sample still modestly small, about half the percentile scores it gives will be accurate within 10 percentile points, and the other half more than 10 points off the actual percentile comparing test-takers to all Americans, or to everyone in the world.
Test validity for the APW has just begun to be demonstrated. People taking this test now are helping to establish its validity in a pilot study. Validity is being established by comparing APW scores to lifestyle indicators of wellbeing, and to two other proven instruments: the Comprehensive Inventory of Thriving (CIT) and the Spiritual Well-being Scale (SWBS). Tests of internal consistency being calculated include test-retest reliability, scale intercorrelations, and the alpha coefficient.
The APW measures nine pairs of TRAITS: mindsets and lifestyles that show patterns of healthy and unhealthy choices you are making in your life. Habits portrayed below in red are unhealthy traits, and the red color suggests both danger and inflammation that would lead to decay, disease, bondage, and death. The habits shown in green are healthy traits, suggesting both growth and encouragement to proceed toward life, health, freedom, and wellness. Traits are assigned this way based on our traditional definition of wellness: what does the most good and the least harm for all people in the long run. The color also reflects what research has shown to contribute positively or negatively to people’s health. The issues presented in blue combine the red and the green, showing how well people are dealing with the resources which both traits use.
[high percentile scores here would be unhealthy]
DENIAL Not looking much at your faults, and not admitting them, therefore presenting yourself on this test as healthier than you really are. Mindsets and lifestyles may include illusions, delusions, hypocrisy, lying, and ignoring truth.
FEAR Being preoccupied and troubled from worry and anxiety about physical, financial, and emotional security in the present and future. Beliefs and habits may reflect insecurity, panic, doubt, distraction, insomnia, and other stress-related physical problems.
SELFISH PRIDE Seeing yourself as special, thinking too highly of your worth, wisdom, charm, looks, etc. This leads to being manipulative, vain, seeking admiration, hiding personal vulnerability. Mindsets and lifestyles may include arrogance, narcissism, prejudice, rebellion, and self-centeredness.
ENVY Delighting in others’ misfortunes, and disliking their success, causing you sadness, resentment, jealousy, self-pity. Comparing yourself to how others look. Beliefs and habits may reflect idolizing, dependency, infatuation, and image management.
RESENTMENT Harboring grudges or anger, wishing or working for revenge, such as by passive-aggressive avoiding, and finding it hard to forgive people. Mindsets and lifestyles may include revenge, guilt, shame, violence, gossip, slander, cursing, irritability, and divisiveness.
LUST Betraying and neglecting loved ones selfishly with infidelity or pornography. Seeing base instincts in most people, and seeing attractive others primarily as objects and sources for sex. Lifestyles may reflect pornography, extramarital sex, sexual abuse, and sexual addictions.
GREED Valuing money and possessions more than family, friends, and people in need. Too much identity and worth come from material things and money. Beliefs and habits may include materialism, workaholism, gambling, compulsive spending, and abusing the environment.
LAZINESS Neglecting important relationships and responsibilities to relax and take it easy. Needing entertainment to avoid boredom. Mindsets and lifestyles may include depression, hoarding, procrastination, and addictions to entertainment and online electronic devices.
GLUTTONY Over-indulging in pain-killing habits with food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and other activities, experiences, and substances. Bad habits may include eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, compulsive exercising, and medicating symptoms for pain relief.
TOTAL TOXIC TRAITS (percentile from adding all your 9 toxic scores)
[high percentile scores here would be healthy]
HONESTY Seeking and telling the truth; fact-checking; showing consistent behavior in all settings of life; keeping your promises, with transparency. Mindsets and lifestyles may include integrity, wisdom, curiosity, discernment, and open-mindedness.
FAITH Trusting in a benevolent source of protection that empowers you to think and act courageously, even in a crisis. Beliefs and habits may reflect calm, hope, confidence, peace, courage, and ability to focus your mind when you are threatened.
HUMILITY Living as if everyone has value and potential for both good and evil, and treating all people with respect. Self-esteem is modest, moderate. Mindsets and lifestyles may include acceptance, listening, civility, sense of humor, and friendliness to all.
COMPASSION Helping, encouraging, and empathizing with people in trouble, showing thoughtful behavior toward the down and out. Beliefs and habits may reflect love, kindness, giving, helping, sharing, and empathy with action.
PEACEMAKING Trying to make peace when you’re hurt by showing forgiveness, and patience, calling for help, and gently expressing your hurt in words. Mindsets and lifestyles may include forgiveness, grace, fighting for justice, and hating the misbehavior while loving the misbehaver.
SEXUAL INTEGRITY Saving most sexual enjoyment for consummating intimacy in marriage, and in marriage, enjoying this faithfully. Beliefs and habits may reflect enjoying sex when it comes with love, respect, romance, desire, and marital fidelity.
STEWARDSHIP Living simply, gratefully, generously, and saving for the future. Things are used, people are loved, not the other way around. Mindsets and lifestyles may include generosity, simplicity, saving for the future, and enjoying a balance of work, rest, and play.
ENTHUSIASM Working long and hard without getting burned out. Inspired dedication to stay focused and put your heart into all you do. Beliefs and habits may reflect purpose, drive, energy, optimism, spontaneity, joy, mental focus, and a zest for life.
PHYSICAL FITNESS Keeping your body fit with diet and exercise to enhance your energy, attractiveness, longevity, and productivity. Mindsets and lifestyles may include moderation or sobriety with alcohol and medication, and disease prevention through effective diet, exercise, and medication.
TOTAL HEALTHY TRAITS (from adding all your 9 healthy scores)
(these combined scores reflect both healthy and unhealthy traits for the same issues)
[high percentile scores here would be healthy]
TRUTH - Honesty vs. Denial
Issues of Reality, Authority, Validity, Integrity
SAFETY - Faith vs. Fear
Issues of Strength, Shelter, Security, Stress
RESPECT - Humility vs. Selfish Pride
Issues of Honor, Esteem, Value
LOVE - Compassion vs. Envy
Issues of Concern, Caring, Comfort
MERCY - Peacemaking vs. Resentment
Issues of Anger, Guilt, Blame, Hurt, Grace, Forgiveness
SEX - Sexual Integrity vs. Lust
Issues of Affection, Desire, Beauty, Modesty, Fidelity
MONEY - Stewardship vs. Greed
Issues of Wealth, Treasure, Possessions
PURPOSE - Enthusiasm vs. Laziness
Issues of Time, Energy, Effort, Focus, Drive, Work
HEALTH - Physical Fitness vs. Gluttony
Issues of Diet, Exercise, Medicine, Drugs and Alcohol
TOTAL WELLNESS INDEX (subtracting toxic from healthy scores)
The Personal Wellness Flowchart
Learn to see how health and illness flow into and out of people and organizations. A dynamic flowchart, linked below, portrays nine pairs of traits. Research has proven these habits cause and effect health in groups and individuals. Use the model to distinguish toxic from healthy sources of life. See how you feed others whatever you eat yourself. Learn to identify causes and effects of the nine health issues configured here, in both their healthy and unhealthy expressions.
It pictures the traditional model for wellness upon which the APW and WELL are based. The fleshy-colored section in the middle is the individual person, showing the nine neutral, natural, mostly invisible resources printed in blue that come into you as a part of life (TRUTH thru HEALTH). The issues that are involved with each resource are listed under each one. For example, TRUTH involves issues of wisdom, integrity, and open-mindedness. The healthy mindsets and lifestyles are listed above in green – they will lift you and others up. The toxic mindsets and lifestyles are listed below in red – they will bring you and others down. “Red means stop, green means go.” Red shows infection, and green shows growth.
This model reflects convincing data that emerged from research with an earlier test. This model is called a flowchart because these healthy and unhealthy traits have four invisible powers which are quite dynamic, all proven in the earlier research. · The red and green habits are alive, and therefore, either growing or dying. They feed themselves on what they feed others, so they are always feeding themselves. The more you give or receive any trait, the more of it you want to give and receive, and the more you are able to do so. · They are mutually opposed: they fight actively against each other. All the reds fight against all the greens, and the greens battle against the reds. · They are two-way streets: whoever you are getting them from, you are giving them to. Anyone who is absorbing them from you is giving them back to you. · And finally, these traits are contagious: each red trait fertilizes the growth of other reds, and the green traits grow other greens.
Note: it is possible to have high scores for an issue in both the healthy and unhealthy traits. For example, your background, upbringing, role models, disposition, and current lifestyle may have caused strong gluttony in you. On the other hand, you may have been working hard for some time to build up your health, through physical fitness education and activities. So you may have strong internal and external pushes toward gluttony, and yet you may be very good at resisting those pushes. The same is true for all nine issues: both healthy and unhealthy traits can have high percentile numbers. When this happens, the scores offset each other, so that the overall score for that issue would be moderate.
Likewise, it is possible to score low in both the healthy and unhealthy traits for the same issue. Low scores indicate low push from within, and low pull from without. Just as when both scores are high, this is good news and bad news. The good news is there isn’t much temptation to unhealthy behavior, but the bad news is there’s not much healthy ability to resist temptation, should the situation arise. So again, the overall score for that issue would be in the moderate zone.
An extra column can be imagined at the right. Here you can think about any other issues that you might want to experience in healthier ways. For example, in the middle row, you could consider neutral resources such as your emotions, habits, and relationships. You can also think about how you use other ressources, such as nature, technology, or your gender, family, career, politics, or religion. You can apply the same principles and use the same solutions that help with the other nine issues the TAW measures. It will help you to name the healthy and unhealthy fruits (mindsets and habits) you find for any issue.
You might decide to work on one or more of these issues. Once you’ve looked at your scores, consider the situations and relationships currently in your life. Perhaps this is a time when you realize that you need to understand more about what could be making you and others sick, and what changes you NEED TO make to live a healthier life. The information below will help you figure out what adjustments you could make in the near future, and what changes would most benefit you and other people.
You can think of experiences that you take in or give out as food that you eat or serve. The traits pictured in red can be thought of as junk foods that take away your health, while the green choices above them are like whole foods that make you stronger and healthier. Both junk foods and whole foods are experiences you take in OR expressions you give out. Both will affect your self-worth and identity, and make you healthier or sicker at your core.
In biblical discussions inspried by Jesus and the apostle Paul, these mindsets and lifestyles have been called fruits. The juice from these fruits can be imagined to flow to and from a person or group. Healthy whole foods flow into them from the somewhat visible wellsprings around them, and flow out from their invisible wellsprings within. Junk foods flow in and out from unhealthy sources, from illsprings.
Think about which people and groups you are allowing to give you their truth. Then do the same for your safety, respect, love, mercy, sexuality, money, purpose, and bodily health. As you absorb these resources from those around you, you are picking up their values, beliefs, and lifestyles in the process. Fruits are coming into and out of you in three arenas of your life, each portrayed by three of the issues shown on your flow chart.
Moving left to right, the first three assets are experienced mostly in Private. Truth, Safety, and Respect are Identity Fruits, and they deal with issues of Confusion vs. Conscience.They are experienced in your mental self-talk, and in your prayers and meditations. You absorb them from the world through reading and watching your screens, from the shows, movies, videos, photos, blogs, podcasts, memes, and other digital content you take in.
Moving out from the private core, the next arena is the Home. This includes both family and close friends that you confide in. Love, Sexuality, and Mercy are Relationship Fruits, and they involve issues of Comparing vs. Connecting. These energies are exchanged in intimate conversations and power moves with those who need and hurt you the most. They are also usually the ones you need and hurt the most.
The final arena is Public, dealing with issues of Consuming vs. Creating. This is where the Contribution Fruits of Money, Work, and Health come in. (Of course, you may talk about your health more in the Home, but you often exhaust and infect yourself in Public, where your appearance and energy are powerful tools for getting things done.) You pick up mindsets and lifestyles with your careers, volunteering, politics, purchases, and online interactions. Healthy exchanges are inclusive of those who aren’t in your circles. You feed them a little too, when you feed yourself and your tribes. Toxic exchanges are exclusive, consuming the resources of outsiders to make them your own, and giving very little back.
Are you taking in more red or green powers in each of these three arenas of your life? Look at where you go to replenish each of the nine invisible powers pictured in the middle row of the chart. Consider if any of the people, groups, and organizations you go to may be deceiving you. So in private, home, and public, find and follow the flow of freedom, strength, cooperation, and growth. Let go of anything or anybody that brings you or others bondage, weakness, division, and decay.
Having looked at what’s coming into you, now consider what’s coming out of you, the kind of power you are putting out. What are you putting into others? You have taken in the habits and beliefs of the parents, teachers, companions, and role models you align with. Over time, their words and deeds have become yours. Then as you have eaten and digested their fruit, your words and deeds have influenced your mindsets and lifestyles. The cycle continues as you feed others, and they eat your fruits. To reduce your harmful words and actions, consider the damage these habits do. Redirect your resources into more healthy behaviors, the better choices listed in green above. Pray/meditate about the benefit to yourself and others that developing these healthier habits could make.
Good ways to tell if you’re walking in a healthy mindset of overflowing fullness,
or an unhealthy mindset of increasing hunger:
Are you Looking to Get, or to Give?
Are you seeking more to get than you are to give, giving only to those who’ll give back to you?
Rather than wanting to get what’s sickening, it’s way better to get fulfilled, by giving what’s healthy.
Are you trying to Figure somebody out, to Fix them?
Better figure yourself out, know your heath from your sickness, and let your higher power fix you.
Are you Restlessly Comparing (Image Management), or Gratefully Content?
Are you trying to make yourself look different to attract others?
Or are you trying to become comfortable in your own skin, just by being yourself?
Who’s Helping Who here?
Are you thinking what God and others could do to help you with what you’re doing?
Or are you thinking how you can help God and others with the healthy things they are doing?
Are you Seeing Growth, Freedom, and Life in yourself and others, or Decay, Bondage, and Death?
Are you seeing yourself and others in the natural, focusing on the ego, the selfish self, the false self we’ve all made (up) to avoid pain and get pleasure, to calm and protect ourselves?
Or are you judging the motives or character of other people, or worried they’re judging you?
Are you running from your pain, or using it to connect with others?
You can see through pain to your true self, the soul seeking its creator, longing to give and receive love, created in the image of a loving God, all of us brothers and sisters in the loving family of God.
ANOTHER PLACE TO LOOK
You can give more freely when you trust you’re always getting fresh supplies from wellsprings within and without. Besides the nine natural resources the TAW measures (truth, safety, respect, etc.), here are nine more soul foods to look at, the nine “A-foods”. Each of these can be healthy or toxic, depending on where they come from and where they are given out:
The big secret: When you are sharing healthy gifts of these A-foods (giving to bless), the more of these you give away, the more you have to give, from your wellsprings inside and out. And when you seek or share the toxic versions of these resources (giving to get), the more you get, the more you want, and the harder it is to keep on giving.
When you realize you are struggling with any of these nine personal health assets, you can benefit from the THREE LEARNING TOOLS described here for each issue. All nine sets of these three teaching aids for healing and growth are available free to be downloaded or printed, at https://mynewlife.com/learning-tools/, and each one is described here.
These pages bring wisdom from psychology, philosophy, and common sense. They give insights and guidance for personal change and growth. They identify sickening habits and beliefs to avoid, and healthy habits and beliefs to put in their place. These Life Lessons describe what’s good and bad for you, and for your friends and family. And they explain why things work out the way they do.
Each article explains over 20 scriptures to guide and encourage you. They give further descriptions and examples of the nine pairs of toxic and healthy traits shown in the flowchart. They tell about the benefits/blessings that come from making healthy choices. These are contrasted with the costs/curses that naturally follow unhealthy decisions. These study guides will be particularly helpful if you are trapped in legalism and black-and-white, either/or beliefs. Devotional studies allow you to see how the Bible can reveal shades of gray in yourself and others. This will help you to discern both the direction and the pace of personal growth, in both yourself and others.
These articles help parents to understand what makes children learn bad habits, and how to teach them better ways to live. You can also use these articles to re-examine your own childhood, to see how you were groomed and taught to think and act in healthy or unhealthy ways. Some of these articles give online resources to help parents create healthier homes. Most of these articles give insights and directions specific to three different stages in your children’s lives: preschool years, elementary school, and the adolescent years of middle and high school.
You can talk about all this with your family and friends. You can become accountable to each other for growth. All the healthy people you discuss this with can bring growth and healing into you. They can share with you their life stories and personal examples, their criticism and praise, their prayers and people, their companionship and protection, their new insights and solutions. That’s how anybody can get healthy and find a better life.
In 2023 WELL Inc. will be launching its website, to-the-well.org. It is being designed to help people, groups, and organizations grow healthier. This domain will be the new secure portal for the TAW. It will give free links to healthy counselors, universities, workplaces, articles, videos, podcasts, programs, products, research, music, movies, novels, short stories, self-help books, etc. These will all be curated by WELL, to insure they are either based on our model, using it, or compatible with it.
Some of your close loved ones might want to take this test too, maybe members of a small group you are in. To teach and encourage one another, you can share your results and goals with each other.
Finally, after learning from these resources, you will have a clearer picture of the life you can live in the future. Of course you may lack confidence that you can ever find that life, or be truly happy fitting into it. Looking at research and people’s life stories reveals that you cannot fulfill your dreams alone. So get connected. Consider asking the help of a friend, relative, accountability partner, mentor, class, support group, pastor, or professional counselor. You will greatly improve your odds of finding the good life, one that is better than you deserve, one that turns out to be the life you’ve always wanted.