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Old 3rd December 2008, 10:03 AM   #29
Baby Nemesis
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Originally Posted by slingblade View Post
Let's see....we don't have to fight lions or bears anymore unless we want to. Some of actually seek fighting lions and bears for the "thrill," and some think that's missing from our lives now.

There are a lot of us. So many, we can't form the close bonds in small, tight-knit communities we used to have to form a few thousand years ago to survive. We don't know each other, and that's scary. There's too damned many of us to know anymore.

We don't work the way we used to. We sit a lot. We ride a lot. We mostly don't farm, don't hunt, or even have to get our own water.

We end up with a lot of repressed hostility, anxiety, confusion...we have too many toys, too many things to plug in and program and pay for. We have too many of us to compete with, to the point the competition stops centering around who does the best job, but silly things like who looks better, speaks better, or knows the right people. We don't know how to get what we want, and half the time, we don't even know what we want or why we even want it.

Who would all this, and more, not make a little crazy?

Some psychologists think everyone has basic emotional needs that have to be met to a certain extent, at least sometimes in people's lives, for us to be mentally healthy, claiming that anyone who has them all met is a lot less likely to get mentally ill. They say the needs include:
  • Security: The feeling that we have a safe territory around us, so we can live our lives without fear as far as possible, and enjoy privacy whenever we need to.
  • Control: We need to feel as if we're in control of our lives and that we're free to make our own decisions about what we do in them, at least to some extent. They say the more interests and activities we're involved in, the more we can maintain that sense of control, because then, if someone loses control of one part of their lives, for instance if they lose a job, they'll at least know they can determine what they do in other parts of their lives.
  • Attention: They say we need to receive some from others, at least sometimes; and that we also need to give it.
  • Emotional connection to others: That can include friendship or emotional intimacy. They say it means we ought to have at least one person who will understand us, who we can share our hopes, dreams and ideas with. They say for some people, talking to a pet can fulfil their need for emotional connection, but many people need more than that.
  • Connection to the wider community: They say we need to feel as if we're part of something bigger than ourselves. That could include working for a cause or charity, or being part of a team - anything that takes our focus off ourselves, and gives us a sense of belonging and purpose in life.
  • Paying attention to the mind-body connection: They say we can succumb to mental illness more easily if we don't take care to eat healthily and exercise, and if we don't sleep enough.
  • A sense of meaning, goals in life and purpose: They say we need to be physically or mentally challenged a bit, by having problems to solve. They say if we don't occupy our imaginations with things that stimulate them and challenge them to invent creative solutions to things, they can be under-used, and can focus on things that are unhealthy and create problems for us, like magnifying little concerns out of all proportion, till we see them as major problems. On the other hand, if we use our imagination in creative ways, focusing it outward on something interesting rather than on ourselves, we can feel satisfaction when it manages to find solutions to the challenges we've set it.
  • A sense of status: They say we need to feel we have some importance in life or in the community, not necessarily a position of importance to a whole community; it could be status as a mother or father. But they say we need to feel that at least someone values us.
  • They say we need to have a sense of competence or achievement: That'll make sure we don't suffer from low self-esteem. They say we can achieve this by investigating and learning new things and improving the skills we already have. That will increase our sense of purpose in life, and make us more confident that we're reasonably talented so we can feel good about ourselves.

It may well be that lots and lots of people's problems stem from the fact that they aren't getting a lot of those needs met; and rather than being helped or inspired to get them met, they're being put on medication, so their real problems don't go away. I know of far too many people who are very unhappy because instead of getting help, they were just offered medication. And it's even worse when it happens to children.

Last edited by Baby Nemesis; 3rd December 2008 at 10:08 AM.
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