World Mental Health Day – power of choice and freedom to decide
The world needs happy people because they invest their resources, knowledge, talents, skills, and time in creation instead of destruction. Aside from the power of the individual to choose an answer to circumstances, society also plays a crucial role in…
We used to think that the choice of profession or occupation we would make after finishing high school was a decision made once and for all.
In today’s intense changes, self-discovery and learning through experiences last a lifetime.
Recognizing own emotions, the needs behind them, and self-care are essential for nurturing own authenticity. It is also the basis for building quality relationships with others. To venture into intimacy but not lose ourselves.
Many of us shape our behavior according to belonging needs and conform to other people’s needs in some context. The main difference makes self-awareness about the choices we make. The difference between “what I want to do” and “what I have to do.” The choice “I want to do” is when the person holds the steering wheel, and he is the author of his life with all choices they make. “I have to do” is the sentence when we feel that outside forces are driving our behavior.
Today is World Mental Health Day.
Mental health is defined as emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It depends on the quality of our decisions, stress management, and social relationships.
Way towards autonomy
There is no greater power than the right of personal choice and freedom to decide about own life in given circumstances. We all have this power, but not everyone knows the possibility of using it.
Born as individuals but without the possibility to survive and thrive alone, we – humans – are torn between two fundamental needs: one is the need to confirm our individuality, difference, and uniqueness, and the other is the need for acceptance and relatedness with others.
In the decision-making process, these two needs are causing inner conflict about whether and how much to prioritize our needs or make compromises respecting other people’s needs in order to belong.
What is the limit to which I will protect my integrity and authenticity, and from where can I give myself or lose authenticity in fulfilling belonging and esteem needs? Establishing a close and caring relationship with ourselves, and strengthening our communication and emotional intelligence skills, could help us build valuable connections with others.
For each individual, other people can be a valuable resource for growth. As well could be a source of suffering when facing rejection or neglect. Self-awareness about relationships that make us happy and support our growth and those that limit us could help us to establish healthy boundaries. Recognizing our emotions and needs, as well as self-acceptance, is the first step towards autonomy. Building positive and caring relationship with ourselves is a base for developing valuable relationships with others.
Another internal conflict or tension between two needs arises when we know what we want but are afraid to act in that direction. The reason is fear of failure or rejection. Safety and esteem needs are behind those negative emotions.
How to deal with fears and doubts?
Awareness of our thoughts and whether they are focused on resources (solutions, what we have) or deficits (what we don’t have, the problem) is a good way to deal with these obstructors. Furthermore, to be aware, is the quality of life we desire only imagination, or we can transform the wish into goals and make a plan to realize it? To transform our thinking into doing.
To question our thoughts. When we find ourselves overwhelmed with fears and doubts and ask ourselves, “What if this happened,” question those thoughts with the opposite, “What if this won’t happen”?
When you catch yourself saying, “I’m helpless to solve this situation,” ask yourself if that is the absolute truth. If not, try to focus your way of thinking on solutions.
Stress or anxiety, resulting from fears, doubts, and other negative feelings, affects mental health and the quality of our life. Recognizing stressors, prioritizing responsibilities, self-care, and self-awareness about inner obstructors, as well as our strengths, are good starting points for building a personal strategy for stress management. Self-awareness and building our inner strength would help us become active creators of our lives instead of being passive consumers of circumstances.
The role of society
The world needs happy people because they invest their resources, knowledge, talents, skills, and time in creation instead of destruction. Aside from the power of the individual to choose an answer to circumstances, society also plays a crucial role in supporting people’s growth and helping people thrive.
Today is not only World mental health day but also awareness against social stigma. Social stigma is discrimination against a person based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of society. The pressure of the majority can play an important role in imposing social stigma.
The majority represents 68 percent of the most probable event, while all other possible occurrences are symmetrically distributed around the mead. Whether for the parameter body weight, intelligence, gender, sexual orientation, or depression, there is always a majority of 68 percent, 13,5 percent represents a rarer event (left and right from the majority), and 2,3 percent (left and right) represents the less probable event.
The message of policymakers is of great importance in the fight against social stigmatization. If policymakers take care of all the people (100 percent), they will create an environment that supports people to maximize their potential. On the other hand, if society focuses on the rights and representation of the majority, it rejects a large group of members who feel frustrated. Society will not be able to use the resources of those people in terms of creation and productivity. Societies need progressive leaders with strong human skills to support mental health and well-being.
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