As a child, Have you ever been curious about what will happen if you keep filling a water bottle and never stop? Honestly, I have and out of that curiosity, I ended up conducting several trials of filling a bottle with water more than its capacity. Obviously, very soon I realized that no matter which container I take to fill, after a point it’s going to overflow and the water will spill out.
Shortly after I understood that we humans are like that bottle and our emotions the water we fill ourselves with and further all this made me strongly advocate for the new ideas witnessable through articles, podcasts, videos, interviews and much more claiming that it can be very dangerous emotionally to keep filling that bottle up endlessly. In simple words, the new take on emotional intelligence taught us that we should not be ashamed to feel every emotion as it comes, be it stress, anger, or sadness.
I fully believe in this but something that bothered me after this was that a lot of people channelized this learning in the wrong direction and had accepted their emotions so much that for example, if they have emotional problems, they decided to not treat those instead have started living with them in the name of “feeling every emotion as it comes”.
Is that the most organic way to deal with this, deciding not to help our own selves?
The very first step in evaluating this new trend of not letting go of your problems is to understand the reason behind our problems.
Let’s see how.
I have witnessed people whine about how unsatisfied, unhappy, and problematic their lives are, but whose isn’t? Take any age group today and each one of them will have some kind of dilemma in their lives either with others but mostly with their own selves. As a matter of fact, we, humans, find it very easy to blame somebody else, but in reality, it’s our own insecurities that usually take a toll on us and put us in unexpected, difficult circumstances. Psychologists have logically justified this by calling it ‘the delayed return environment’. Researches say that human evolution has been so drastic that now humans worry more about what will happen in the future instead of thinking about solving problems that are presently at hand.
This is seen as the reason for chronic anxiety and stress in all humans today. Professor Mark Leary from Duke University said,
“A deer may be startled by a loud noise and take off through the forest, but as soon as the threat is gone, the deer immediately calms down and starts grazing. And it doesn’t appear to be tied in knots the way that many people are.”
He said this to target how unconsciously humans have shifted from an ‘immediate return environment’ which earlier made them deal with short-term or acute problems like the deer, now to chronic stress with the ‘delayed return environment.
And this has messed up the entire system as in the anticipation of what will happen today, humans ruined their past and now are blackmailing their present into ruining their tomorrow.
This ties back to the main idea that how conveniently people today have decided to just live in their negative circumstances and never come out of them and a very simple example for this is that people on social media have started following and reading ‘sad quotes pages’ which have extremely depressing quotes and writings.
What is bothering her is that on one hand, people might argue,
“People have a distorted view of the world when they are in a negative state of mind. It becomes a cycle where negative thoughts reinforce negative emotions, which in turn produces negative actions”.
Basically people call this a negative cycle, but on the other hand, nobody is working towards breaking this.
The reason for bringing up the example of reading depressing quotes is to explain that when you are already stressed due to unusual occurrences and then you expose yourself to more negative things which are not even doing the job of helping you in difficult times, then you are triggering your sadness even more. Instead, get in touch with people or read articles or quotes that motivate you and break that cycle.
The second step in this cycle is that people start self-diagnosing themselves with depression or consider themselves manic depressive based on one or two symptoms which might just be due to some minor stress or anxiety-related problems instead of such severe depression-related ones.
All this self-diagnosis which takes people to misleading results has in a way made them believe that it’s cool to have depression because practically everyone has it today, at least that’s what they assume. And this is exactly what’s toxic to one’s mental health. Therefore, seeking professional help or from people you trust is the better way round.
As discussed before due to the ‘delayed return environments’, all of us have some issues in life but not everyone has depression and it’s really not “cool” to believe you have it when you don’t. A good suggestion for this situation would be taking learning from nature. I have come across a few psychologists who cite the example of the different seasons we have in nature. They tell us that when it’s the right time even seasons change; when nature doesn’t get stuck up on one season to not mess with the natural cycles, then why should we? In simple words, by clinging to just one emotion we are ruining our systems because then our minds are subjected to certain types of negative feelings which further ruin every moment in life.
Finally what teenagers and adults need to care about today is their mental health to stay sane and not get lost in this complicated world and the best way to do that is never to fill up the water too much but also never stay stuck upon any one season.