Am I mentally balanced?
Many people wonder whether they are mentally balance, as in reasonable and able to see the world around them in a healthy, balanced way. The way we perceive the world around us does fluctuate. When we are experiencing high stress levels or clinical depression we are clearly not functioning seamlessly but there are common behaviours that can identify an individual who seems to be ‘firing on all cylinders’.
Here are indicators that you are mentally balanced (or unbalanced):
You are able to regulate your emotions
If you currently suffer from road rage or cry at the drop of a hat, you’re not mentally balanced. For some reason, you’re ‘off kilter’. This can occur when we suppress strong emotions and don’t have a decent outlet to diffuse this inner anger/aggression/sadness. Bottling things up or trying to ignore problems end up making the issue worse. A mentally balanced individual still experiences emotions but they are able to manage these feelings without losing the plot.
You are able to maintain stable relationships
Being mentally balanced means that you can empathise with others and consider the feelings and experiences of others. It isn;t all about you and what you want. When you are mentally balanced, you find it easy to communicate your needs, be reasonable and compromise where necessary. A personality disorder known as “Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder” (formerly knows as Borderline Personality Disorder) is characterised by volatile and emotionally unstable relationships. Individuals with this disorder see others in a very black-and-white manner. They are either good or bad, there are no gray areas. This often stems from a troubled childhood.
Of course, even mentally balanced individuals encounter problems in relationships but they are more adept at communicating when there are disagreements and the issues tend not to get blown out of proportion. Mentally unbalanced individuals hold grudges, see themselves as victims and blame others for their situations in life.
You are not addicted to an unhealthy lifestyle
If you are addicted to some form of behaviour to help you get through life, this will affect your mental outlook. Whether you are addicted to drugs and alcohol or you are a compulsive shopper, both excessive behaviours suggest an underlying issue. People often become addicted in order to avoid dealing with the reality of life. The problem is that the reality of life only temporarily disappears and returns with a vengeance after we have used drugs or maxed out our credit cards. It can make the problem worse. External intervention is often required to nip this vicious cycle in the bud.
You accept responsibility for yourself
When you are mentally stable, you see things as they are. You understand that every decision and action you have taken in the past has led you to where you are today. You accept that only you can make yourself happy. If you are mentally unbalanced, you see yourself as a victim. You believe that others have somehow led you to be where you are. This is irrational thinking. Sure, having a difficult childhood sets you back, losing your job is no fun either. The difference between getting through this though is how you perceive it. A mentally stable person accepts that life is full of adversity but also has a health dose of acceptance around this. A mentally unbalanced person displays anger and resentment at how their lives haven’t worked out. When they blame external circumstances for their woes, they effectively give away their control. If you believe that it’s your parents fault for the misery you suffer now, then you must also believe that only your parents can take away that misery. How depressing is that? You can only be happy or at peace through the actions of others. Taking personal responsibility means no more excuses but it’s also very liberating and gives you back your control.
You know how to problem solve
When life gets tough, the tough go problem solving. This is far healthier than freaking out or putting your head in the sand. One great way to tolerate distress is owning and using the skills to problem solve. Knowing the difference between what we can and can’t control is a good start to problem solving.
When we problem solve, we brain storm solutions. We look for what is possible rather than ruminating and worrying for the sake of it. Worry is like a rocking chair – it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere. Mentall unbalanced individuals often struggle with stress and difficulties and possess poor problem solving skills. Blame is ineffective. Problem solving involves a health level of acceptance of the problems. When there is denial that a problem exists, very little problem solving gets done. Being mentally balanced involves acceptance, being creative and resourceful whilst engaging in positive behaviours to improve a situation.
If you feel that you are unable to problem solve, regulate your emotions, maintain stable relationships, accept responsibility for yourself and lead a lifestyle free of addiction, you might need additional help. You can consult the Mental Health Resources Section of this website to find help and support.