Impact of having personal vision on mental well-being
Dr Chido Rwafa-Madzvamutse-Mental Wellness
As discussed in previous articles, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a meaningful contribution to their community.
The ability to visualise a desired future for oneself can have a positive impact on our mental well-being and help us to thrive in life.
What is a personal vision and what are the mental health benefits of having a personal vision?
The ability to imagine and visualise what our future could look like:
Creating a guide towards a meaningful life
Developing a picture of how you intend to live your life
A value driven roadmap for the future
The benefits of having a personal vision for one’s life include:
Self-motivation (Intrinsic motivation): When we have a clear vision of where we want to go in life or do with our life, this vision will help guide and direct us. We will be self-motivated to work towards these personal goals. We are less dependent on external motivating factors and we need less encouragement from others, we are better able to encourage ourselves.
Hope for the future: A strong personal vision will give us hope for the future, even if things do not currently seem to be working the way we would like, a vivid vision will keep our hope alive. The plan by which we attain our vision may change due to changing circumstances but if our vision remains resolute we will eventually be able to attain it.
Greater capacity to deal with stress: When we have a clear vision for our life, we are more resilient and better able to cope with life challenges that come along the way. Tough times will come, but when we have a vision we are working towards, we will be better able to cope with and to work through the challenges.
Better decision making: a clear personal vision will help us make decisions that are based on our values and the direction we are taking in our life. Our decisions are less likely to be based on crisis management and we will be less likely to be stressed.
A better sense of direction in life: A personal vision will help give us direction in life and guide how we spend our time and resources. The mental health impact of a lack a personal vision for one’s life.
Discouragement and disillusionment: a lack of a clear vision for life can lead to disillusionment and discouragement. Without a clear direction and goals for our life we are more likely to fail to meet our expectations.
Stress and anxiety: A lack of clear direction in life will result in more anxiety and stress. We will be more anxious about decisions and about challenges that may come along the way.
Depression: Depression may affect our ability to develop a personal vision, however, when we lack a personal vision we may struggle with disillusionment and demotivation and this can worsen symptoms of depression.
Alcohol and substance misuse: Alcohol and substance use can affect our ability to see beyond today and to visualise a better future for ourselves. However, the lack of a personal vision and goals in life can also lead to excessive use of alcohol and use of substances due to a lack of clear direction on how one wants to live and what one wants to achieve in life or how one should spend their resources.
How can I build my personal vision for my mental well-being?
1. Acknowledge that you may be lacking a clear direction in life or that you may have had a vision for your life, but have become disillusioned.
2. Allow yourself to dream again. Life challenges can batter us to the point of losing sight of our dreams and ambitions. To regain our personal vision we must start to dream and hope again.
3. Define what success is for you and shape your vision based on your values and beliefs not on what other people define as success but rather on what you believe is meaningful and purposeful in your life
4. Write your vision down. Many times our dreams and ambitions remain dreams because we do not make the time and effort to write them down and plan out how we intend to achieve them.
5. Be accountable. Share your vision and goals with trusted friends or mentors and create a system of accountability so that you can be held accountable for the plans you have committed to. If our vision only exists in our own minds it will be less likely to be accomplished. If you think that you or someone that you know may be struggling with a mental health problems linked to disillusionment and a lack of a personal vision, please contact your nearest health care provider and get help.
l Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) article written by: Dr Chido Rwafa Madzvamutse, Consultant Psychiatrist. Feedback: (Dr. Chido Rwafa Madzvamutse Whatsapp+263714987729) (www.ahfoz.org; [email protected])