We all know, but tend to forget, that just because we are not sick or ill, this does not mean that we are physically fit and healthy. It’s exactly the same when it comes to our mental health. Having good mental health usually involves having the resilience to deal with life’s slings and arrows, and to experience a sense of purpose and positive well-being. Psychologists call this positive state of mental well-being ‘thriving’ or ‘flourishing’.
What are the ingredients of someone who is mentally flourishing? Firstly, the mentally healthy person has compassion and empathy, and is able to have loving and caring relationships with others. A major research project in America, called the Grant Study, followed 268 men over a 75 year period and attempted to identify what influenced the mens’ happiness in life. The main finding was perhaps not surprising. It was the “warmth of relationships” that had the biggest impact on life satisfaction. As the project’s lead, George Vaillant, concluded, “Happiness is love. Full stop."
Secondly, people who thrive will live a life that is consistent with their values; they do the things that give their life meaning and purpose. So, people who are thriving don’t spend their whole day at work. They make time to be with their loved ones and to look after themselves. They do the things that matter. Thirdly, people who thrive are prepared to step outside of their comfort zone. Doing new things can give us a sense of adventure and vitality.
In this modern age our physical and psychological health doesn’t just look after itself; it needs to be planned and practiced. So, live your life on purpose; take time for yourself and others, practice gratitude and kindness, and keep trying new things. You are worth it.
For NHS funded therapy for stress, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or register online [HERE]