For the past several decades, mental health issues and substance abuse cases have been on the rise. In fact, many studies show that the overall well-being of people, which includes mental health and general health, have been on the decline. Some longitudinal studies show that half the population is likely to experience mental health disorders at some point in their lifetime.
But why is this? It is proven that our psychological and physical well being is determined by a number things – including our environment, relationships and social situation, diet and exercise, work – and leisure. Down time is actually shown to be a critical indicator of individual mental health. So what psychologists and psychiatrists call a new mental health pandemic is both social as well as personal.
People are in a constant race and struggle to keep working and try to give themselves a better life. The standard of what we consider a “good” life has completely changed, with ideas of targets, deadlines, and productivity forcing us to work harder, thinking we will achieve it faster – for something previous generations could achieve slowly over time. We owe this to capitalism.
Yes, capitalism that has increased our standard of life, by creating a system in which advanced healthcare, food, (no. world cuisine) and housing seem like amenities. It has also sold the idea that more is better – and forced small businesses and entrepreneurs push themselves to compete with large corporations that have the advantage of scale.
And thanks to social media, we are forced to compare our lives with the curated life of “feed” that warp our sense of what it means to have a “good” life in the first place. So how do we find a solution to this? The answer lies in taking a step back and re-evaluating what we want from life – each one of us – and realizing that we can lead a life that is good – for us.