What comes to your mind when some one uses the words – mental health? You need not have a degree in psychology to break into an extempore at this question. Depression and anxiety have become deeply entrenched in our everyday lexicon. Do you find yourself wondering why? Maybe we have the luxury now – as we have freed up bandwidth from the ancient and medieval issues (war, famine, plague etc)? The goal post has shifted from existence and survival to well being and thriving.
While the conversation on mental health has started and there is incessant commentary around it from all major quarters, there is a big void in the general understanding. The term is self-explanatory and encompasses the general health of your mind on a day to day basis. As simple as it sounds, it is a very important definition to sieve what matters from the clutter. General intellectual psychobabble takes a very parochial view of mental health restricting it to loaded terms like clinical depression, generalised anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and many others. While these labelled afflictions are very much a part of the spectrum of mental health, they do not cover myriad other things that we feel and go through in life. To draw an analogy with Herzberg’s two factor theory, while a presence of labelled mental health disorders impairs day to day functioning of an individual, their absence does not necessarily amount to sound mental health.
In fact, often, people are not as healthy mentally as they could be or should be. You are not alone if you relate to words like lonely, empty, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted, mechanical, unhappy but don’t know why. This is a bane of the 21st century modern existence. We have never lived better in terms of creature comforts, medical care, connectivity tools, world peace and human rights. However, this comes with a commensurate reduction in close knit relationships, human to human connection, deep and immersive experiences.
Sometimes, one wonders what we are optimising for in this world – longer life spans and physically comfortable lives or enhanced mental wellbeing for maximum people.
What are you optimising for?
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