by Dr. Nancy S Buck
We have spoken with many, many people since starting and diving deep into our Mental Health & Happiness project. The stories and responses we receive in return have been enlightening, helpful and thought provoking.
One thing we hear from many who are new to this kind of a journey and new to Dr. Glasser and Choice Theory psychology are questions about mental health and mental illness. How does happiness figure into this?
Here are a few things we believe:
- We are all in a state of mental health. The common terminology of “mental health issues”is describing someone who is lower on the above continuum.
- Despite the recent DSM-V, not all human responses and reactions to life’s stressors and upsets are diagnosable disorders.
- People with a diagnosable disorder will move higher on the above continuum, improving their mental health & happiness when they meet their needs for safety, love, power, fun, and freedom every day in respectful and responsible ways.
- Improving the important relationships in our lives will improve our Mental Health & Happiness. This alone will move us higher on the continuum.
- Developing, improving and maintaining optimal Mental Health & Happiness is possible to learn and teach. Just as we learned what to do to get into better physical shape, or improve our dental and oral health, the same is true for Mental Health & Happiness.
- All mental health professionals should have a clear, achievable definition of Mental Health & Happiness. If anyone is presently seeing a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or other mental health professional, ask him or her what his/her working definition of Mental Health & Happiness is. How can you move higher on the above continuum if you don’t know what it looks like and what you need to do to improve?
- Our emotions are indicators of our emotional and mental state. When we feel glad, happy, hopeful, enthusiastic and positive we are heading in a mentally healthy direction. When we feel sad, angry, hurt, disappointed, frightened or negative we are heading away from what we need and want.
- Part of normal living includes positive and negative feelings. Negative feelings do not mean we are mentally ill. We are simply lower on the above continuum at that point in time.
- Knowing what you can do to improve and move higher on the continuum is the indication of Mental Health & Happiness. Being Mentally Healthy & Happy does not mean that we feel happy and positive all of the time. But when we feel negative we know why and know what to do to improve.
Hope this helps you better understand where you are on your own continuum of Mental Health & Happiness.
Please give us feedback about more questions, discoveries and quandaries as you continue on your journey with us.