You, Your Mind & Your Relationships
Updated: May 5
TAKE A PAUSE. And recall what you were thinking, how you were feeling, and what you were doing since yesterday or last week. Bam! You just explored your mental health!
A million thoughts run through our minds every day…every second even, for some! All these thoughts make us feel various emotions and we indulge in diverse behaviors. The trio of cognition or thinking, emotion, and action form the crux of our mental health! When we are relaxed and comfortable in our current psychological, social, and emotional state, we bask in healthy mental well-being.
Close your eyes for a minute and think about all the people who make you feel happy, fulfilled, positive, and empowered. It can be anyone…your friends, parents, your cat, the lady who wishes you good morning every day…or even you..yourself!
How do you feel thinking of all the people you hold dearest? Naturally, we feel good and grateful for having them in our lives! We, social beings, are trapped amid a web of numerous relationships! As we talk, joke, understand or simply listen to people, we shape the routes of our relationship with them and add more meaning to their existence and our own.
Our mental health plays a prominent role in determining how we manage our relationships. For example, Vikram, fosters good relationships with people around him, making him feel positive throughout the day. Whereas Anika, an introvert, struggles to speak in school and hence becomes a victim of loneliness. Or even Ishaan, diagnosed with depression, withdraws from his social circle.
Research studies show that people who share healthy and wholesome social relationships have good and strong mental health, happier lifestyles, and longer lives! Undoubtedly, the quality of the bonds we share with people around us enriches our everyday functioning and fills our day with hope, sunshine, and cheer.
Mental health and relationships coexist like two wheels of a cycle. The influence of one leads to an effect on the other. A healthy state of mind ensures cheerfulness in behavior and having few but quality relationships in life elevates and nurtures our mental health by making us feel safe, validated, and assured! Our anxiety and stress levels drop when we have people around us to support us!
On the other hand, Daksh, when feeling low, becomes vulnerable and insecure even when alone. He loses interest, disconnects from the outside world, and feels less active, thus hampering his social interactions. Aren't we all like Daksh when we are down? We find solace in isolation and need space to clear out all our chaos. Mental health disturbances not only affect us at a personal level but also have a strong impact on our social life as well.
The fluctuating states of our everyday mental health dictate our behavior at a personal and social level. But in the long run, qualities of trust, love, loyalty, concern, respect, and the depth of conversations we hold define the value we give to our relationships. Similarly, overindulgence, mistrust, apathy, and inferiority in a relationship can result in feelings of negativity for the other person and make the relationship unrewarding, toxic, and perhaps even damaging!
Riya tries her best to make sure she keeps misunderstandings miles away from all of her relationships. She devotes time to understanding, empathizing, and holding real heart-to-heart talks with the people closest to her. If she’s busy, she sees to it that she informs them and catches up later on. Also, she tries to have meaningful conversations that enhance the worth of her relationships.
Empathizing with others acts as a zip. Sewing together two individuals at a deeper level. Just a simple task of cutting the other person and pasting yourself instead in their story, sensing their emotional state, and saying ‘I get you!’ can add so much intensity to our relationships! Suppose your friend tells you about a car accident he had. Ask him questions about it (curious), show your concern, clarify your doubts, and check up on him. Even though she has a small social circle, practicing such simple steps makes Riya feel fulfilled and assured. The quality of relationships will hands down outweigh the number of relationships.
Consciously making an effort to cultivate blooming bonds with people by having regular mindful talks puts a big tick mark on our belongingness needs, thus boosting mental health!
Struggling with mental health sometimes may leave us unsettled. In such situations, having the warmth of family and friends around you can smoothen the entire healing process. When we acknowledge the dis-harmony in our mental health, we must gather the strength to seek therapy and overcome the issues quickly before it starts having a severe impact on our relationships! Untreated matters of the mind stay within us and find uglier forms of expression later.
Let’s constructively pursue the comfort of supportive and heartening relationships to keep our minds and souls smiling and refreshed and distance ourselves from alliances that drain us out, make us feel unworthy, or are toxic to our mental health…for:
‘No relationship is worth damaging your mental health!’
Written by: Aqsa Merchant (BA Psychology, FY, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda)
Proofread & edited by: Rubal Prajapati (Counseling Psychologist and Ph.D. Scholar at Bharathiar University)