Our Physical Surroundings Impact Our Mental Health

August 6, 2012

I just returned from a trip to visit family.  I was blessed to stay at a place on the beach.  I, personally, love the beach.  It is so peaceful and serene.  No matter what is going on in my life, I can get a new perspective when I am near the water.  My own experience got me thinking about how our physical surroundings impact our mental health.

I know how my physical surroundings impact my own mental health so it seems only logical that it would impact everyone’s mental health.  We all should have our basic needs, such as housing, food, water, and safety met.  Sadly, that is not the case for many people throughout the world.  How can our mental health be strong if we do not know where our next meal will come from or where we will find shelter from the elements?  I believe not knowing the answer to these basic questions causes one to live in a constant state of anxiety.

In fact, one of the findings of a study published in September 2008 by the Government Office for Science was that our sensory stimulation, that is what we see, smell, touch, taste and hear are significant factors contributing to our mental well-being.  These factors impact every one of us.

I am thankful that I no longer live in a state of anxiety as I once did.  I am blessed that I have come to a place of healing and recovery.  If it was not for the support of family and friends, I would not have achieved the basic needs required for me to overcome my own situation.  I thank God every day for the many blessings in my life.  It has not always been easy.  When I look back, I see how the difficulties in my physical surroundings made it hard for me to grasp that things would get better.  Perseverance, faith and hope carried me along the way.  They still do.

If your own circumstances look grim, I encourage you to not give up.  Rather, persevere and reach out for help wherever help is available.  In time, things can change for the better.

Sources and additional reading:

Mental Capital and Wellbeing and the Physical Environment

Environmental Connections: A Deeper Look into Mental Illness

How the environment affects mental health

Mental Health and the environment

Wellbeing: Mental health and the environment

What causes mental illness?