Why family mental health is global mental health
Do you realise that all people around the world are basically alike? That is, their emotional wellness and mental health come largely from the same type of lifestyle.
That lifestyle must include a strong connection to others. We can all imagine a family in Africa, France, or the U.S. sitting down together at the end of the day. Ideally, they are having a meal together and enjoying each other’s company.
Families that can relax, talk and enjoy recreational activities together feel the harmony. And, this harmony has to be deliberately created. No one outside the family has power to build this closeness.
While governments differ and cultures are unique, individuals have the same basic emotional needs. Each of us wants to feel loved and cared for. We want to belong.
“There is no substitute for having warm and caring people to enjoy life with,” says a psychologist we’ll call Alan. The most stressed people I know don’t have this. They just collapse under the strain of an empty life. Many of my clients have turned to drugs, weird lifestyles, cults and odd religions. They are seeking acceptance. Their families have failed them.”
In our world, a family can be three sisters living together, grandparents and grandchildren sharing the same house, or two dads raising five kids together.
The people who make up a family can be any combination of people who care about each other. But, the sad truth is that families are splitting up and getting destroyed rapidly these days.
So, how do we ensure the mental well-being of our families? How do we create a warm and fuzzy safe space that is a fortress against the outside world?
These tips can help:
- Resolve to expand your family unit. Either strengthen the bonds you have or seek new family members by connecting with relatives you haven’t seen in a while. Include friends as family, too. Friends are the family you choose for yourself.
- Work hard to develop comforting rituals. Invite family and friends over for dessert and coffee once a week. Or, go out to eat once each month.
- Build memories together. Families that go fishing, take a hike together or go bowling will build priceless memories over the years. Without good memories, your family has no true foundation.
- Work on healthy communication. Use good manners, even with your smallest children. Do say please and thank you. Ask your family members if they need something. Make your family a safe place to discuss needs and wants, even if they can’t all be met.
There will always be conflict around the globe, and some families have never known anything but living in a war zone. But, if more families lived in harmony, each and every society in every nation would be stronger and more harmonious.
“If you give up the well-being and fabric of your own family, it’s bad,” says a newly divorced father of three we’ll call Austin. “The children will never get over it. I should know. I come from divorced parents. Here I am, repeating the cycle.”
When people live in strong families, they are more productive and open to helping their neighbours and their communities. People who enjoy their societies and way of life are less likely to support the idea of war. Happy people don’t need to clash with other people.
Tribune News Service
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