THE WEIGHT OF SOCIETAL PRESSURE
Chad Walkaden, Director & Primary Practitioner
18 JULY 2017
Do you struggle with your body image? Do you feel scrutinised about your parenting decisions? Do you feel pressure from family and or friends about your relationship status?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, I suspect that you can identify with feeling the weight of societal pressure!
Despite the perceived laborious impact that it can have on our lives, I propose that it can also be used as an opportunity to explore and improve our emotional and psychological well-being.
Before we continue, let’s put this into a context that helps understand what we are exploring. Societal pressure is the expectation felt from those around us. It is something that, for many centuries, has influenced our values, beliefs and behaviours. Despite the perceived laborious impact that it can have on our lives, I propose that it can also be used as an opportunity to explore and improve our emotional and psychological well-being.
In my recent sessions, the impact of societal pressure seems to be a reoccurring theme. It seems that, irrespective of our circumstances, many of us become negatively affected by the weight of society’s attitudes. For instance, suppose someone close to you had a dip in their mental health? What expectations would you have about how they are to manage their responsibilities at home, in the workplace or in a relationship? What about someone diagnosed with cancer. What would help you determine that they are doing the best they can to promote their life?
While the above questions provide an example of how societal pressure can add complexities to people’s decision making, it also is the very vehicle that can drive us to a place of confidence and stability. For example, I want you to consider how someone’s self-efficacy could be improved if, in response to questions about their dip in mental health, they were able to confidently answer “I am not at work today because” or “I am seeking professional support because”.
The same rule can apply for someone with cancer. It is well known that people with cancer experience the weight of societal attitudes. For instance, many people project their views about how someone with cancer should think and or eat. Again, I want you to consider the beneficial impact to someone’s identity, emotional strength and overall psychology by them saying “I have chosen to do this because” or “I am eating this way because”.
I believe that, in life, it can be the small changes that can have a dramatic impact on our overall lives. In many ways, these small changes can be the key to helping us challenge and change the biggest negative influence in our lives. And, the biggest negative influence in our lives is not the people around us. It is OURSELVES. It OUR MINDS!
ARE YOU READY TO MAKE A SMALL CHANGE?
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