Having spent time researching and working with numerous clients, there are three critical factors that currently contribute to our feelings of being overwhelmed, our feelings of anger, and our feelings of sadness. This appears to also be a reason as to why anxiety, and/or depression, and/or suicide is in most, if not all, families in the western world;
Our brains are overloaded with data;
We have to make so many choices today compared to earlier times, let's look at getting a simple cup of coffee: what type of coffee, what size, what to sprinkle on top, the type of milk, should I get a flavour, single or double shot, have here or takeaway, a marshmallow or chocolate? Then it's time to pay; pay by phone or card, which card to use, which gets me the most points, is it for business or personal, should I tap/insert/slide to pay. The process is exhausting, and that's just one decision to get a coffee.
We carry a phone in our pockets that gives us instant access to as much information as we ever need, and much more. Plus, we have a multitude of interactive platforms that allows us to communicate globally, and most have an addictive element to them which keeps drawing us back.
We expect higher standards from ourselves and from others than previously. At school we have reporting on students that resembles a performance appraisal rather than a report on their academic endeavours. At work we want to succeed, when we do so there is an expectation that we can do better, no matter how great our result. This cycle increases the expectations and increases pressure to perform at our highest level, continually.
Perfectionism is increasing, if something isn't just right we tend to look at the negative rather than the positive, we tend to neglect what we actually achieved. Our inner-critic speaks to us more and more - "I should have...", "They should have...", "It's just not good enough".
Have you found yourself apologising for the interruption when you phone someone, do you find yourself no longer dropping by to see a friend without first notifying them well in advance, do you send an email or message rather than talk face-to-face?
Social media should be renamed anti-social media. A lot of us find ourselves either spending too much time on social media or being distracted by it. And, there can be a destructive element to the way the analytics operate.
There are other contributing factors I am sure, but these tend to be three major culprits. We can help ourselves by reducing the amount of time we spend looking at our phones, or by lowering our expectations or by communicating in various formats. However, we live in the real world and the real world is advancing so we need to advance with it.
Therefore, can we bring the solutions together in a single solution, you bet, talk with people, real people, as much as you can. Even if it means talking about the plethora of information available, or how we have such high expectations today, or even about the way in which social media operates.
Conversing with people face-to-face has been shown both in science and in research to be one of the most beneficial things that we can do to help ourselves and to help each other. With conversations comes socialisation, education, normalisation, and adaptation.
So, does communicating to educate work to reduce anxiety, depression, and in particular, suicide? Yes.
If you need proof, just look to Finland who had the highest rate of suicide in the 1990's. Through a whole of country approach - communicating, education, active involvement, and commitment - Finland turned their high suicide rates around significantly - Can Suicide Be Prevented - http://www.stakes.fi/pdf/mentalhealth/mu161.pdf
We can do this, together, so let's talk!