Recently, I’ve been binge-listening to a podcast called “Economic Update”. Sounds like a real snore-fast, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s soothing, gripping and depressing all at one.
In an episode from a few months ago a regular guest, Dr Fraad, was talking about what support humans need to maintain good mental health. It stemmed from a question about why do Americans kill each other more than Europeans, but it was connected to what mental support we need and how best to provide them.
In order to not become so hopeless that we murder people, or resort to substance abuse, or become motivated to hurt anyone (including ourselves), we need all four legs on our mental health “table”.
We need a personal connection with someone. Unconditional love that you can depend on. Whether this is from your partner, children or bestie, doesn’t matter. It’s about a connection you have full confidence in having forever.
You need friends and acquaintances that help you keep moving. They might be friends you hang out with all the time, or it might be colleagues you only see at the office. These are people that help you thrive, motivating you and generally making you feel good.
This is the group of people who share your beliefs or interests. Traditionally, this was often a religious group you would meet regularly, but it could be a charity you volunteer with or even a special interest website where you chat with people who share a hobby with. You may not be friends with anyone there, but you feel connected by your shared cause.
You need to feel part of humanity as a whole. You need to be aware and really feel that you are more than just another blob wandering about this planet. You mean something.
Do you have them all?
While I have heard a few similar methods of self-evaluating mental health, this one was a little different. I didn’t think I understood the difference between “cause” and “purpose” in this method, but I thought back to some of my most happiest times. Working in my cause, helped me feel like I had a purpose, but the emotions behind the cause – the reasons I enjoyed it – gave me more purpose that the work itself. I’ve drifted away from some things that gave me this sensation, so although I found this metaphor slightly awkward, it did make me think. That’s always a good thing.
What do you think about the mental health table?