What is “Healthy” Mental Health?

mentalhealth1

Mental health is commonly associated with psychiatric, mood, or personality disorders.  Society at large associates mental health with “crazy”.  Why is mental health so negative?  Shouldn’t the health of our minds be a positive?  Could the negative stigma of mental health be, in large part, due to its negative associations?  What is the positive counterbalance?  What is good mental health? If we do not have a clear picture of what good mental health looks like how can we fully understand mental health issues and to what target we are aiming?  What is good mental health?

Mental health is commonly defined by negative symptoms and behaviors.  If someone’s’ thoughts, feelings, or behaviors fall outside the norm and lead to unwanted or negative consequences it is deemed an issue.  A doctor may prescribe psychiatric medications to lessen unwanted symptoms.  Group and/or one-on-one counseling may be part of the treatment plan.   However, what are we aiming for, and what is the target of good mental health?  Other than attempting to stabilize a person with mental health issues in hopes they can have a full life, or not compromise others, we have no real goals to aim for good mental health.

emotional-intelligence1

Emotional intelligence is a term used to define someone’s emotional maturity.  Is the individual thinking illogically?  Are their thoughts distorted?  How does one respond to stress?  Does the individual take responsibility for their emotions or do they blame others?  Does one take other people’s actions personally? Does one depend too much on others or do others depend too much on them?  Emotional intelligence is a good gauge for positive mental health because it is the direct result of our thinking.

Mental health isn’t necessarily about positivity or looking “on the brighter side”.  Mental health has far more to do about identifying the thinking which is causing our feelings, and discovering the underlying beliefs which reinforce how we perceive and experience ourselves and the world.  Distorted thinking and fallacious reasoning are two main culprits in the creation of negative feelings, beliefs, and actions.  It is one big circle.  If my thinking is illogical or distorted, my feelings will become illogical and distorted.

cbt

A key to mental health is the regular practice of accurate self-appraisal, owing our emotions, discovering our thinking causing our emotions, and challenging our thoughts for sound logic and clarity from distortions.  Far too often, we accept our thoughts as they are and without question.  Thinking is not just a voice in our head, a conversation we are having with ourselves or the story we tell.  Thinking is a key in discovering and understanding how we create our experience and reality. It is a key only you can use.

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If you have a negative or unwanted feeling check your thinking for common thought distortions above : ) do any of these apply? Or checkout this link to CBT worksheets here!

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Screen Life

Fun images depicting the idea of “Screen Life”.

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Screen Life

I type and watch letters emerge from the blinking cursor as it moves across the screen.  I have a Screen Life. I blog.  I facebook.  I sometimes tweet, and have been trying to use instagram more (snapchat is beyond me – maybe I am too old;). There are so many ways to “connect” online, and new portals are opening up all the time.  It can take a lot of time and energy to keep up with others online.  The time we spend online on our phones is taking a life of its own.  The more time we spend in our Screen Life, the more our Screen Life becomes important.  Technology is a powerful tool to communicate and share media.  It is so powerful that it rivals real life!  What is it about our Screen Lives that is so important?

I feel using technology to communicate can connect us to some information about others who may be across the world.  This is cool.   We can share pictures and videos more easily as well.  There are many conveniences in our digital devices.  However,  online communication lacks the most import information we need to really understand each other, ourselves.  Once we take our bodies out of the communication we lose almost everything we would have in person to help us understand each other;  facial expressions, gestures, posture, tone of voice and the overall feel of someone’s presence.  It has been said 90% of communication is body language.  At best, are we communicating with 10% of the information we need to understand each other when not in person or over the phone? Yes.  

The issues of communicating without most of the information we need to understand each other is pretty obvious.   Let’s take facebook for example.  We have all seen things blow up online, be misunderstood, taken out of context, or just plain read it wrong.  Some people have ended relationships or feel there life is over because of something “happened” online.

While more people “connect” online, more people feel anxious, lonely, depressed, and fearful than ever before.  If technology is truly connecting us for the good, then why doesn’t it really feel good the more we do it?  It is a growing feeling inside of us who have a Screen Life; something is missing, something just doesn’t feel quite right.  Perhaps, we feel misunderstood, lonely, sad, fearful, or just don’t feel like we fit in to the online world anymore.  What about the real world?  

Let us not forget, the digital age has given us digital media in our digital solo-universes, but the real world is where others are, and where connections are made which make us feel more whole, and a part of something greater than ourselves.  It is important as people to remember, Screen Life is not the only life.  Let’s not forget to spend some time outside, together, or with ourselves doing something or nothing in the big beautiful world all around (outside!).

Tavius Dot Org