Is Your Environment Affecting Your Mental Health?

Have you ever wondered why you thrive better in some environments than you do in others?

I’ve thought about it a lot over the last week with various people I know having their environment impact their emotions and ultimately their mental health.

Research suggests that we have a distinctive awareness of our environment and seek out situations with certain qualities. According to Mary Jo Kreitzer, RN, PhD, humans have a strong need for safety and security and look for those attributes in their environment. However, we also have a strong need for psychological protection, which differs with every phase in our lives.

From past experiences, I’ve struggled immensely thriving in certain environments ever since I moved out of home to here in Melbourne. It’s an exciting concept to think about, how your living space, working space, or leisure space affect you so much.

Being in a toxic environment (which differs for everyone) and toxic relationships/friendships can take a toll on mental health and well-being in general. A few years ago I surrounded myself with the wrong people.

People who were frequent drug users, with unaddressed mental health issues who in a way all fed off each other’s problems and used each other’s problems as an excuse to use and abuse drugs and take advantage of people.

At the time, being in a dark place myself I didn’t see how toxic it was primarily for my mental health because once you down that dark rabbit hole of loathing and not dealing with your problems it’s so hard to climb back out and for many people, it contributes to worse states of depression and anxiety.

However, your environment doesn’t have to be toxic for you not to thrive, it can also be suffocating and hard to manage.

By manage, I’m talking about the people you live with, friends, family, or acquaintances. Living with people who don’t have the same needs as you are also just as bad.

For example, say you’re a very health conscious person, living with someone who isn’t, this may affect you in the sense of being around fast food all the time or being around someone who doesn’t necessarily take care of themselves properly (no judgment, I too struggle to adult sometimes).

What would be some ways to change your environment and set up a way to start thriving, my best advice would be to think about the goals you want to achieve in life and think about how best you can reach them.

Would it be by going to therapy? Cutting out toxic people from your life? Moving away? Cutting down on drug use? Breaking up with your partner? Doing more for yourself that makes you happy and feeds your soul?

For me, it was all of those things, and many of you may not see the importance in it yet, but you will even if you look back on it 6-years later, it serves a bigger picture that is your life in the long run.

This article ties heavily in with my Mental Health & Getting Back on Track article, which was written when energies were low, and routine was changing.

Changing your environment to thrive could also be about the lifestyle you lead and the possessions you have. I know for many people having their home or their room set up nicely helps with their mental health and stress. It can also be about the mindset you have towards life.

If you’re bitter about your circumstances and blame other people for your actions, of course, that’s going to affect your mental health negatively, but if you’re also lonely and don’t have a support system, life, in general, can be hard.

I wish I could say that many services aim to give you support, but there isn’t. However, there are a lot of events and functions that could provide you with the help you need.

There’s also the idea of adopting a pet, which provides a great sense of companionship and makes you feel a little less alone.

A lot of the time, for me, my environment is stressful, and sometimes that’s a good thing where I thrive but sometimes its also a bad thing where I struggle and get anxious. The main thing that has helped me deal with stress is meditation but also a combination of vitamins that help with stress.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on current mental health issues like being in a toxic relationship/friendship/environment, so leave a comment below and let’s chat!

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P.S.S.S. If you need someone to talk to or immediate help (in Victoria, Australia) see:

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