According to studies conducted in countries such as China, the U.S., Japan, India, Italy, Spain, and Turkey, anxiety levels have been trending around 33 percent, with levels of depression hitting 27 percent. This means that every one in three people suffers from serious angst, enough to negatively affect their life, while one in four is depressed.
Beykoz University’s Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs Coordinator Professor Ebru Şalcıoğlu draws attention to the fact that such psychological issues have significant impacts on health, social, economic, and human rights across the world.
To counter this, she states that, along with individual awareness and the pursuit for help, community-based efforts should be made.
In other words, the good professor means that anxiety and depression are not problems that can be dealt with alone. External assistance is essential.
I would like to underline that when we talk about “anxiety,” I do not mean having zero worries, and that everything is rainbows and butterflies.
Anxiety in moderation is one of the most significant sentiments that makes us human.
The good news here is that being happy or being unhappy is mostly our choice.
While genetics and things out of our control make up 60 percent of our happiness, “deliberate actions,” which denote what is actually under our control, determine 40 percent of our overall happiness.
What is a deliberate action?
It’s the numerous activities and concrete behaviors that people can choose to participate in in their daily lives.
This, however, necessitates a certain degree of effort.
Meaning, that happiness doesn’t just happen; one has to work for it.
Well, is there a formula for happiness?
If we were to heed the words of famous Turkish songs, the formula for happiness is: me, you, and a baby.
If we are to return to reality, it’s not that easy; however, it is not difficult either.
As Professor Şalcıoğlu says, we need to alter our choices and put in the work.
Without sweating, working, producing, or exercising, one cannot hope to have a semblance of a healthy mind and body.
We aren’t like those certain fruits and veggies that manage to grow by lazing around; we are intricate human beings.
And the only way to stay that way is to hard work. The harder you work, the more human you become, and so you shall remain.
Professor Şalcıoğlu has some golden suggestions for those yearning for joyous life on World Mental Health Day, celebrated every year on Oct. 10.
I would like to share them with you:
1. Have a goal: Live your life according to specific goals. No matter how big, or how small. Determine your goals and commit to activities and behaviors that will help you reach these goals in your daily life.
2. Never stop growing: Be open to new experiences and keep on growing.
3. Stop judging: Accept yourself without judgment, and don’t judge others either. The feelings and thoughts you’re trying to run from will only snowball and take over you in the end. Pay attention to these thoughts and feelings, be aware of them, and accept them. Accepting them isn’t a surrender; acceptance means being at peace with that experience and making space for their existence without ostracizing it.
4. Become a part of social life: Create a web of social support for yourself. Build close and satisfying social relationships and friendships with people. What matters is not having many friends, but good friends who support you.
5. Listen to your body: Take care of your body. Sleep regularly; eat well and don’t forget to exercise.
In the olden days, people who used to work their land would say, “Excess of any kind is poison. This might be power, lethargy, food, one’s ego, ambition, lust, arrogance, jealousy, fear, rage, hate or, even, good intentions. Paracelsus, a Swiss physician of the 16th century, said: "All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing that is not a poison."
In other words, moderation is key, both in relationships, as well as in business.
Furthermore, we must not forget that every excess that we have denotes a lack of something else. Extreme wealth breeds extreme poverty. If someone earns too much, someone loses isn’t making enough money. If someone is overeating, someone is starving.
In fact, there is not much disparity between a fat wallet and a fat belly.
A fat wallet perturbs society, while a fat stomach disturbs the individual.
The reason that rich philanthropists are exemplary in history is because their numbers are gravely low.
If there were many of them, they wouldn’t have gone down in history.
In short, every sort of extravagance first destabilizes us and then the world we live in.
And thus it should be avoided at every turn.