At Thrive Mental Wellbeing, we value the potential everyone has to change and continue learning throughout their lifetime. To reach our potential life satisfaction at an ideal pace and build a healthy life, let’s have a close look at the connection between these aspects of life and our mental health.
Work or Studies
A meaningful job is one that supports our mental health. We all want to contribute and feel “useful” in our lives. However, work or study-related stress can also lead to or aggravate existing physical and mental health problems like anxiety, panic attack, depression and low self-esteem.
Having a support system is extremely valuable, so get as much support as you can. It is ok to feel uncertain, to not know what you want for yourself or not have everything worked out.
Nobody can predict the future, everything changes, and things will not last forever. As psychologist C. Rogers said: “The good life is a process, not a state of being”.
Studies in life satisfaction between nations have shown that living conditions have a strong influence over average life satisfaction. People are capable of choosing lifestyles that fit their preferences and desires if they are financially stable. If you can afford to do the things you enjoy, like eating out, travelling, or shopping, etc. then you can obtain a sense of safety and freedom.
If your mental health affects your ability to work or study, this might reduce your income. Money problems can affect your social life and relationships, as you might have fewer opportunities to socialise with friends. This may lead to feelings of loneliness. You also may not be able to afford things you need to stay well e.g. food, bills, housing, therapy, etc. Worrying about money can also lead to sleep problems and feelings of hopelessness.
Learning how mental health and finances are connected might help. If you are struggling, try taking things one step at a time and get some free advice from Citizens Advice.
Making time for leisure a priority is a good way to build resilience against stress. It has a positive effect on our overall health and also plays a huge role in the fight against mental illness. It doesn’t matter whether your leisure activity is physical or mental, alone or in a group. Having those relaxing activities is good for us, as they can boost our confidence and self-esteem, ease everyday stress, and reduce anxiety and depression. There is also plenty of research that suggests that leisure time can make us more productive. So, if you think it’s waste of time, then take it as a special way to recharge your mind or body. Remember, even robots need to charge, and we are only human beings.
There might be some times we don’t have the mental strength to do anything and even getting out of bed feels difficult. Then try to take it as a signal that our body is trying to communicate: they need a battery! (Don’t worry if you cannot change immediately, take a deep breath, and restore some energy by doing nothing).
Friendship is a crucial element in protecting our mental health. We obtain a sense of value, belonging, and attachment from having good friendships. Friends are there to celebrate the good times and provide support during the bad.
It is important to know the difference between good friends and bad friends. For example, are they supportive or judgemental? Do they boost your happiness or let you down? Do they increase your stress or reduce it? Do you feel seen and heard?
We cannot be friends with everyone, so try to use your time and energy on people who are worth it.
Healthy, consensual sex is an important component to a fulfilling life. It can boost self-esteem, reduce stress, lead to better sleep and improve mood. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, besides the basic needs such as food, water, and shelter, we also have safety needs, love and social belonging needs and esteem needs. They all serve an important role in having a happy life. Humans need to love and be loved by others, whether this is sexually or non-sexually. The feeling of intimacy, as well as feeling nurtured and desired, boosts our self-confidence and overall wellbeing. This may be different if you have had negative sexual experiences – it’s important not to put pressure on yourself and remember that there are resources and support out there to help.
Poor mental health conditions can negatively impact someone’s sex life through depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. These conditions typically cause low self-confidence worries about physical image can can be a barrier to intimacy.
Trusting each other and having good communication is the best way to feel connected and intimate.
Self-care is not selfish – it’s essential. Engaging in a self-care lifestyle can help manage symptoms of mental health problems like anxiety and depression. So, what is self-care? Self-care is doing something that makes us feel taken care of mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Self-care may not look the same for everyone. For example, for introverted people, watching a movie or listening to some music is enough. Others may prefer meeting friends for activities that they consider fulfilling. It all boils down to doing things that you enjoy or need, so we can promote our wellbeing and reduce stress.
The practice of self-care also reminds you and others that your needs are valid and a priority. It doesn’t always happen naturally and that’s why we may need to take some time to remind ourselves we are important.
Self-care relies on increased self-awareness. Being mindful of your feelings and thoughts can help you recognise patterns in your emotions, be aware of triggers and identify pleasure situations.
Family life plays a significant role in our lives as it determined our personality, beliefs, and values. Most of us spend a lot of time with family members when we grow up, if the family relationships are stable and supportive, you may feel a sense of safety and contentment. Family bonding, flexibility and parental support (emotionally and financially) are all huge factors in our life satisfaction.
However, if the relationship is toxic or emotionally unavailable, people might develop low self-esteem and be eager to seek validation from others. In the absence of physical safety: family violence, childhood abuse or neglect, our ability to form and maintain significant relationships can be greatly affected. When our needs are not met, it can cause anxiety and depression.
Being happily married or in a stable, healthy relationship has a positive impact on our mental health.
Existing mental health problems can affect a person’s relationship with intimate partners. Remember that it is possible to be in a healthy and loving long-term relationship with someone who suffers from mental health problems. As long as both of you are aware of the problems and honest with each other. You can work together by utilising resources and strategies to help you grow and nurture the relationship.
However, being in toxic or negative relationships can do the opposite. Research has found that single people have better mental health outcomes than unhappily married people.
Greater life satisfaction makes us feel happier and simply enjoy life more. It also has a positive impact on our health and wellbeing. As we’ve seen, there are many factors associated with life satisfaction. Working on improving or enhancing these factors can help you find your happiness.