Guest post by Anne Hart
Your mental stability and happiness are more interconnected than you think. It’s not uncommon to hear people who have lots of material possessions, supporters, and established careers, say that they are still living unhappy lives. In fact, the US Happiness index revealed that the average happiness score in 2020 was a mere 6.95 over 10. Whether we want to face it or not, one’s overall happiness and well-being are more dependent on mental stability than any other factor. In this article, we’re going to delve into why we’re wired this way.
How does mental stability affect your happiness?
What exactly is happiness, and how can we define such an abstract concept? Researchers in the field of positive psychology found that happiness is generally a feeling of satisfaction with life, and it turns out mental stability plays a part in achieving long-term happiness. Mental pain can be as damaging and hurtful as physical pain. Although, it doesn’t necessarily manifest outwardly. Mental pain, more often than not, affects one's cognition, emotion, and other thinking processes. And those suffering from its long-term effects often are not aware of the signs, nor do they immediately seek help.
Those who are mentally stable are generally in control of their personal thoughts and actions, are able to care for themselves and others, and can stay consistent and present in their work, family, and social lives. On the other hand, those who struggle with their mental health can suffer from the following early warning signs: pulling away from people and their usual activities, eating or sleeping irregularly, struggling with alcohol or various kinds of addictions, or feeling hopeless about life. These feelings can hinder you from functioning properly and experiencing the good things in life. Such factors curb happiness.
When left unchecked, the warning signs can turn into more serious mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorder or depression. Moreover, a 2019 study on the correlations between mental health and happiness highlighted how individuals suffering from mental illness are more likely to have lower levels of self-satisfaction and job satisfaction. Constant mental instability leads to unhappiness, and it becomes a cycle that needs to be broken. This is why awareness and caring for one’s mental health has been such an important point in health discussions, especially in recent years.
How do I cultivate mental stability?
• Don’t hesitate to seek professional help
Fortunately, it’s much easier to seek help nowadays. Professionals with a background in psychology or psychiatry are finding work in schools, community centers, rehab clinics. You might even have a mental health professional working for your company. Their understanding of human behavior enables them to understand the mental struggles you're experiencing and actively find a solution. Thus, consulting with such experts could be beneficial to your wellness and can motivate you to take the steps towards recovery.
• Manage your emotions well
Emotions can be tricky, as some are quite difficult to process or express. Anger, for instance, can hurt your relationships if not handled properly. Feelings of hurt, denial, and detachment can also further distance you from people who are on your side. So, when you're starting to feel overwhelmed, make it a habit to stop and take a few deep breaths. This will help you get your bearings again before doing anything else. However, for those whose emotions drastically affect their mental stability, it’s best to consult a professional for help.
• Be mindful of your life choices
Your mental health might not always be in your control, but you do have substantial power over your life choices. That said, taking better care of your health and wellness can lead to holistic happiness. Develop a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and work towards developing these healthy habits. By making your routine and environment more conducive to your mental stability, you're investing in your happiness.
For those struggling with their mental stability, it’s crucial not to lose hope. For some, the solution might lie in a simple change of mindset while it might take behavioral therapy or medication for others to regain their footing. All solutions are valid, as every person is different and experiences the world differently. The first step, however, is always the same for everyone — acknowledging your problems and being open to seeking the help you need.