Mental Health Mondays: Letting Go of Social Norms


Mental Health

What does it truly mean to “let go”??? So much of what we do in our world is because of an expectation. Getting up in the morning, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and going to work or school. These are all examples of activities we do everyday, often of autopilot. If I asked you why you wake up in the morning, what would your response be??? Would you answer, “because that’s what we are supposed to do”, or “I’ve always done this this way”??? What if you slept in until 1:00 pm??? Would you be happy and say “I got the sleep I needed, I feel good, now let’s start the day”??? Or would you feel embarrassed, or maybe ashamed and say you shouldn’t have overslept???

This is just one very normal activity. So much of what we do everyday in our lives has been programmed into us from children on up.  We live our lives by rules and social norms. We often decide what we should and should not do based on wether or not it is socially acceptable. Let’s look at another example.

What about people who work 2nd or 3rd shift. In either case, we see these people having to work hard to make their schedules work. They get fewer hours of sleep in order to make a Dr appointment, or go to the bank. What about all the people in society who claim they are NOT morning people. What if you  got the right amount of sleep because there were more options for people who don’t do the “9-5” lifestyle. If more people would be honest about who they are, imagine what could happen. We could  help the people who already work shift work, and create jobs for those not “morning people” as well.

Now, some of you may feel like I’m way off in left field here, and maybe I am. However, I feel like the stress of preforming for someone else, based on the “norm” can be too much. This is not good for these people’s mental health. We all are forced into boxes and to do activities we don’t want to do just because they are the socially acceptable norm. And while I get laws and social norms like not killing people, and following the rules of the road, I question what harm it would be to extend banking hours, Drs. offices, and other “9-5” businesses and accept that not everyone can do the “9-5” thing.

Again, this is just one example of how becoming more open minded and letting go of social norms that don’t make that big a difference in life can reduce the stress and help mental health. It will probably be a long time, if ever that our society sees the benefit of happier workers and greater mental health by doing something this “drastic”, however, in our own selves, we can make this a reality. It may take some doing, some logistic work and whatnot, but if we can open our minds to what truly makes us happy, fulfilled, and less stressed, we can work toward achieving this. If we can get over the fear of going against the grain and become who we truly are, the boost in mental health would be crazy, and it would be so worth it in the end.

Do you ease stress by letting go of social norms???

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