What is Mental Health? Emotional health?, and why do they matter?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”
But were not shown how to be aware of these things, we are not given a manual at birth that tells us how to realise our own abilities, or how to live our best lives – in truth, I think that’s actually a good thing. Any book would no doubt be someones opinion, or agenda. Right now, there are more self help apps, courses and books than ever before – and yet at the same time, we are having the biggest mental health crisis ever, and its not decreasing. So how does that make sense?
Simply, because each and every one of us, is an individual. Yep, that old chestnut, but its true, and matters more than we realise. From the moment we are born we are like little sponges, absorbing all the information we are exposed to, consciously, subconsciously, unconsciously. Our brains form while at the same time, organising this constant stream of information, creating memories, retaining pattern recognition and expanding our knowledge and experience base daily. Our bodies grow while we mimic sounds, language and behaviours into our muscle memory, and learn to seek pleasure and avoid pain. This entire time of growth, we are exposed to anything that comes our way – and we havent yet learned to filter out what isnt helpful to us. We encounter attitudes, facts, judgements, negaivity, abuse, rituals, assumptions, preferences, culture norms and many other constructs. Our mental and emotional bodies are shaped, and create our own ways of being, preferences and bias based on what we can collect evidence for – creating our own unique perspectives from all these things. This is the basis and framework for our mental and emotional health.
In building this perspective, and the lens we see the world through, we have also accepted and learned attitudes, thoughts and assumptions that do not serve us. Of course we have, we are surrounded by other human beings who have also had to create their perspective in the same way. We (and they) were taught to hold beliefs about ourselves, other people and the world that do not support who or how we want to be. We have learned dysfunctional behaviours and unhelpful mindsets that cannot create the outcomes we hope for.
Our brains primary, and constant objective, is survival. It literally thinks that because we are alive, that all the information we currently hold is good for us – even if it doesnt serve us, or allow us happiness, we are alive, and therefore, the information we have is deemed ‘good enough’. To save energy, our brains use this information to create a filtering system where it will literally filter out what seems to contradict this information, while focusing on what matches – confirmation bias. Even when that information is proving painful to go through life with. Like believing we are not as good as other people, because thats how we felt growing up, and a few people have treated us this way, or thinking that the world is particularly risky because a parent was always endlessly worried about something. Its not always obvious what this dysfunctional information is, but it shows up in many ways –
- Suffering from anxiety for extended time periods
- Believing your worth is determined by how people treat you
- Continuing relationships which do not support us
- People Pleasing
- Low self esteem
- Lack of confidence
- Suffering emotions
- Negative mindsets
- Exhaustion, sustained unhappiness, worrying about what people think, being judgemental etc
And this all comes to be our normal. Our minds are used to thinking it, our bodies are used to feeling it all. It all becomes as fluent, and unnoticed to us, as our own accents. We notice someone elses, we hear the differences, but our own is fully accepted. We believe its who we are, rather than just ‘ways’ of being that we have mimicked and learned from others.
But if you visit somewhere else, does your accent slightly change as you pick up the local sounds? If you relocated to that place permanently, would it change for good? even if only a bit? Almost certainly.
We need to realise that this ability to change is available to us in every way. In every part of life, and it all begins with changing, and supporting our mental and emotional intelligence. We tend to know our physical needs through body sensations, hungers and pain, and we also need to know how to recognise our mental and emotional needs. The pain and discomfort we feel in these systems are signs that we need to understand and learn how best to meet those personal needs, just as importantly.
You are a product of your environments and everything you have learned and practiced up until now, and as long as you are alive – you get to continue that learning to improve in any way you would benefit. Your mental and emotional health underpins everything in your life – what you feel you are capable of, the choices you will make and the risks you will, or wont take. It determines the quality of your relationships, your communication, what you attract and accept in life, and most importantly, what you think and feel about yourself. It impacts how and what you teach your kids as well. No matter what you feel you have learned, or not learned, you can develop it to create a healthy and beneficial foundation to everything in your life.
This emotional mastery should be a book given when leaving high school. See if I knew half of this stuff in my twenties, my life would have been so different! This. is your book for the next generation Liz!
After doing the Inner Child meditation for a week, I had an extremely detailed dream, and since then, the difference in the way im dealing with stuff is amazing! no more unwanted tears, stress or worry! Its bloody awesome! xxx
I loved learning about the different brains and ego, I cant believe how obvious it all feels now, but had no idea until this course. Old me would have been stuck with all the excuses about not being good enough, now I know better, and it changes everything! thankyou xx
You are not stuck with anything, and any beliefs you have about being unworthy, not fitting in, being unhappy with where you are (or are going) being too emotional, being too old (or too anything), or any feelings that seem stuck like anxiety, overwhelm, lack of motivation, or a general sense of being lost are all perspectives that can be expanded, changed, updated, and improved. Everything I offer whether personal sessions, my membership, courses or publications, seeks to give you this knowledge to know who you truly are at your core – an amazing human capable of great and beautiful things. You are not broken, and this is your time.