It is World Mental Health Day today, and as mental health practitioner (and dating app Founder) who has worked alongside hundreds of individuals who for whatever reason have being struggling, I wanted to share some insight which I have come to realise is the 'North Star' of staying well, or getting well.
As people, we have to make many decisions across our lifetime. Many will think that their biggest decisions in life maybe 'where they will live', or 'which university they will go to', or even 'which industry, or career they will chose to pursue'. But they'd be wrong...
The biggest decision in your life is none of those, the biggest decision you will make hands down is who you choose to spend your life with - your partner, your spouse specifically.
I know many people who are successful, wealthy, comfortable - but they don't have the/a partner who supports them, so when times are more difficult, life is much tougher. They are of course 'perceived to have it all', however, we know that money or 'things' cannot buy happiness, and despite having 'everything you could possibly want' if you have chosen unwisely, or not at all, riding out the storms of life can lead to chronic unhappiness, and dissatisfaction.
Regardless of money, or job titles - relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives, yet, most of us walk into them often not thinking - 'is this person good for me'? Blinkered often by looks, or the honeymoon period whereby both sides are on their best behaviour.
We often forget how important connections are for both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Having people around us, who make us feel good about ourselves - not just our spouse or partner, but our friendships and the communities in which we belong can all make a significant difference to our day-to-day lives and longer-term happiness. Research supports this - those that are socially connected are happier, healthier, and live longer, with fewer mental health problems.
In modern world of course, we tend to focus on short-term happiness - 'the doing' - but sadly, this part of the brain has no inhibitor, therefore devoting your time and attention to filling your longer-term happiness bucket is key to staying at the top of your game both mentally and physically.
What is key in all of this is, it is the not the 'relationship' or number of, but rather the quality of such. Like I said earlier, if you are unwise in your choices or lack understanding of your needs, you can end up living in conflict or within toxic relationships which are more damaging than being alone. Once again research backs this up - being happily married, or in a stable relationships impact positively on our mental wellbeing, with lower levels of stress, anxiety and less depression. However, single people have better mental health than unhappy married people. Having someone who has your back, who makes you feel good, AND safe is therefore key if you are looking to dating or find someone to have a relationship with.
The Role of Individual Responsibility....
There is so much we can do when it comes to preventing us from ending up with the wrong person. There really is no excuse. BUT running around, dating anyone, could not only lead to you wasting your precious time, but could also jeopardize your longer term happiness. Relationships after all are harder to get out of once you are in them.
Mental health is not a day, or a week - it is an everyday concept which affects our thoughts, feelings and subsequent behaviour. We therefore need to prioritise - as a society and as individuals - by investing in building and maintaining good relationships for the sake of our own health and wellbeing. Failing to do so, turning a blind eye, and going into them willy nilly is no longer a good idea - in fact, I'd say it was just plain dumb.
"Happy relationships don't just happen, you make them happen" Bo Sanchez
If you'd like to know more about your attachment style, take out quiz here.
Till next time,
Founder | REDDI