More and more people in society, especially its young members, feel disconnected from other people. They become emotionally disengaged, even if it’s not what they truly want. This lack of ability to connect or belong coupled with the exposure to so much negativity fed to people through technology is leading to an increase of anger and mental health issues. Unfortunately, these mental health concerns are often going undiagnosed and untreated.
What can be done about this? It’s important to focus on mental health and emotional health on an individual level, as well as within relationships and throughout society.
Why Does Mental Health Matter?
Mental health is an encompassing term that covers many aspects of your life, health and well-being, including:
This translates into your thoughts, your feelings and your behaviors. While we tend to put an inordinate amount of attention on physical well-being as a society, these mental aspects make up a huge part of a person’s life. They can impact a person’s relationships, ability to work and state of being on a daily basis. That’s why mental health is so important.
Your state of mental health comes into play in relation to how you deal with stressors and life in general. If you are mentally strong, you can handle what life throws at you better than if you struggle more with this area of life. Also, mental health impacts the fairly basic idea of whether you feel happy and satisfied with your life or not. If you are obsessing about thoughts or stuck in the past or future in your mind, you won’t be enjoying the present moment. You may feel like your life is passing you by without there being anything good about it.
When Mental Wellness is Impacted
When your state of mental health is not good, you could have a mental health disorder, also known as a mental illness. There is a broad range of these disorders it’s possible to have. The most common types are:
- Anxiety disorders
- Mood disorders
- Schizophrenia disorders
For example, you could have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a type of anxiety disorder where your thoughts get stuck on something and you feel like you need to carry out a repetitive behavior to feel better. Other examples of mental disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder
If you have a mental disorder, this means you are not in a state of optimal mental health. You are struggling with some aspect of your mental and emotional health, which varies depending on the type of disorder.
Nonetheless, it’s possible to struggle with mental health even if you do not become diagnosed with a mental health disorder. For example, you could experience anxiety from time to time and find that difficult to handle.
The difference is that a mental disorder involves the signs and symptoms continuing over time and interfering with your life. It’s possible for mental health disorders to develop at any point in a person’s life.
Ways to Improve Mental and Emotional Health
There are steps we can take collectively and individually to make a positive change toward better mental health. Of course, there are professional interventions, such as therapy and medication, that can be effective. Nonetheless, we can also make changes in how we interact with one another in society that can have a positive impact. These are some key areas that make a difference.
We all want to be heard, as it makes us feel important and cared about. It can help to truly listen to other people while making eye contact and commenting to show you’re paying attention. Also, take time away from distractions such as technology to check in on people in your life and see how they’re doing. Ask them questions about their life. Of course, you should also seek out supportive relationships for your own mental and emotional health.
Beyond just being listened to, we want to feel like other people understand who we are and where we’re coming from. You can help other people feel understood by asking them leading questions and having meaningful conversations with them. It also helps to be understanding and accepting of their individuality rather than trying to change the person’s mind or beliefs. In the same way, seek out people and groups that will help you be yourself and feel like you are understood.
Feeling Part of Something
It can become dangerous for people to be in constant solitude and to be disconnected from other people, especially if it is not the person’s preference. This kind of situation can connect to a lack of empathy, anger toward others and additional unhealthy thoughts or behaviors. It’s important for us to help other people feel included and to reach out when someone is ostracized. If you feel disconnected from others, seek out a group to join that’s centered on something you enjoy or care about.
Putting Effort into Ourselves
It’s also important to focus on our own mental health as individuals. “Establishing good mental health can help prevent anxiety-related illnesses and disorders,” according to an article on Exploring Your Mind. This article notes many ways to work on your mental health, which include:
- Noticing the present through mindfulness
- Choosing relationships that benefit your life and letting go of ones that don’t
- Looking for the positive in situations
- Taking care of yourself
Good mental and emotional health can put people into a state of peacefulness and make them feel happy about their lives. Without this, people can develop mental disorders and struggle with life. Putting the effort into mental health can help us improve life individually and as a society overall.
Reviewed by Clare Waismann, CATC, Founder of Domus Retreat
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