Your Mental Health Comes First
Understanding the importance of your mental health through psychological tips and my personal experience
Mental health plays a major role in my life as I face severe depression daily. My life experiences from when I was a child and more specifically from when I was a teenager have led me to choose psychology and a focus on developmental psychology as my profession. I have obtained my bachelor’s degree and, more recently, my master’s degree in psychology. While as a developmental psychology researcher, my research has been heavily focused on autism, I am consistently conscious of my mental health in every situation I am in.
Mental health is an important aspect of my education and my life. With a psychology profession, I write from a psychological perspective on why everyone needs to be vigilant of their mental health and emotions. Mental health plays a role in everyday interactions and every situation. Individuals need to be aware of assessing their state of mind and knowing how to be conscious of emotions and feelings.
The mind is the most important aspect of your daily life. The brain is equipped with neurons that are consistently active and working until you go into REM sleep. Being conscious of your mind and feelings is important to learn how to navigate your emotions. Hence, everything that is going on around you and your life is led by an emotional response. Your brain and heart lead your emotions. You can tell how you are feeling with your thoughts and how you feel in your heart.
A person’s mental health is the most important aspect of their daily life. You need to be conscious of your mental health and the emotions you feel because it impacts how you react. Your mental health is a leading factor in how you go about your day. Always remember your mind is the most important thing to be conscious of.
Your mental health comes first before anything else, do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
All the emotions a person feels throughout the day are lead by the state of their mental health. A psychological measure for your daily life is the well-known Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs gives a pyramid of stages on basic every day needs a person should be equipped with to live a healthy life. Abraham Maslow is the founder of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which provides a hierarchy of human needs going from bottom to top. The bottom needs must be fulfilled before the needs on the top. If all factors are achieved, then a person has fulfilled self-actualization.
I would consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a measuring factor for mental health as it incorporates all aspects of life, from physiological needs to the ultimate goal of self-actualization. Every event in life can fall into one of these five categories. If you are aware of your surroundings, you can notice what you are feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally to understand what your needs are at any moment. Any major event can make you feel at a loss of one of these categories.
Once you know where your mental health and emotions fall, you will know how to react to each situation. Happy, emotional, sad, and traumatic events are all impacting your state of mind and your thought process. Hence, being conscious of your mental health 24/7 is crucial to understand the steps needed to handle the situation appropriately.
Groupthink is another psychological method that may interfere in your daily life. Groupthink is a psychological concept where a group decides on a decision simply due to harmony and conformity without risking the potential for the danger's reality. A group will go with a decision even though there are known risks involved in the decision.
When it comes to your mental health, groupthink can occur in your circle of friends. This is when you can differentiate your real friends from your fake ones. True friends will not conform to tell you to be a certain way or how to think, say, or do anything. They will respect your uniqueness and accept you as you are. Every person is unique in their own way, and they excel in certain things while not so much in others. Within humanity, we all need to be there for each other and not bring people down. People need to accept every person as they are, not try to change them for who they are.
Within a circle of friends, I’ve noticed that certain people stand out and take a commanding dictator role sometimes and everyone else follows suit. There are too many people following suit and accepting anything being said, and within friendships, there are many “jokes” on each other that are made.
However, not everyone may be susceptible to constant so-called jokes, which may end up being bullying/cyberbullying. Many special needs children, especially autistic people like myself, can’t differentiate jokes from what is true. We tend to take things literally. Nevertheless, if too many jokes on one person occur, it just turns out to be degrading and putting down a person through jokes, which in reality has turned into bullying and cyberbullying.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and groupthink in my life
In measuring my happiness and mental health, I have always associated with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I mainly deal with mental health issues such as depression in the love and belonging stage in the hierarchy. While my main issue comes from a lack of sexual intimacy, there are times where I face issues with family and friends at that stage. Therefore, the conclusion can be made that I have never experienced self-actualization.
I have all the other stages fulfilled. Therefore, physiological, safety, and esteem are always fulfilled. However, when I notice there is no respect from others, I escape society and leave those that may cause any hatred. I am not going to be a pushover and let people treat me any way they wish. I have previously forgiven and given people more chances than they deserve. However, some people will never change and will always be a bully.
The statement above leads me to how groupthink works for me. The issues I face with my so-called friends since I am autistic. I have a different form of thinking compared to societal norms. I also have particular interests. These issues lead me to be different from society, and you cannot put me in society’s “social norm box” and expect me to be the same way as others. Friends I have dropped and left always wanted to change me for who I am and put me in society’s social norm box, and to expect me to be like others would be my maturity and growth.
Therefore, the way groupthink worked in my life is society or a certain group of friends trying to tell me how to be, what to say, how to think, what to do, and what not to do. However, that would only cause me not to be my genuine self. People setting societal expectations and thinking I will follow are not the way to treat me or any autistic person. I have unique needs and special interests, and I am a believer in being myself. I do not need to please people and be any different than who I am naturally.
It is not my job to change for people to accept me, love me, and be a true friend to me. It is society’s responsibility to learn about autism, how being single depresses me, and accept me for who I am and what I do.
In life, learn to be your genuine self and find what is missing in your life for you to experience self-actualization. Do not let others control you and tell you how to be. Every person is unique in their own way, and that does not mean they need to be forced to change something about themselves for them to be accepted in society and within a circle.
If your circle of friends can’t accept you for who you are and how you act, how you think, and what you say, it is time to reconsider your circle and see who is a true friend and who is not. A person’s growth and maturity should happen organically, and nothing should be forced.