How Changing Your Environment Can Influence Your Wellness
“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” – Alexander Dan Heijer
This lovely quote is making its rounds in social media. We can see the impact in which changing some things around in our life can have on our way of thinking about our well-being.
I have noticed that for many clients, some basic environmental changes could make a significant influence in how they think and feel about themselves, therefore changing how they interact with the world around them. It is hard to see the impact of an environment when you are settled deep within it. Oftentimes, societal expectations, work obligations, and family traditions may keep us rooted in patterns that we are used to. However, these patterns may help some people thrive, while others may feel the need to escape.
A very common environment that can impact our emotional state, is where we live. We may joke around about the pros and cons of our living environment, but we would be naive to think that it has no influence on us. After recently moving out of Florida, I can wholeheartedly relate with the following example. A Floridian who hates the heat and humidity, is probably not going to be happy to walk out every morning to do their daily routine. Sure, they can complain about the heat everyday, feel uncomfortable, and keep living their life, but at what point do they have to re-evaluate whether or not living in Florida is working for them?
Similarly, a young adult who has chosen to go to a specific university, because of the “prestige” or because they feel it is what they “should do” may experience significant anxiety and stress when they feel they need to continue attending out of obligation. Another higher education option may be best suited for them, but they may reject the options due to perceived or real family pressure.
Environment can also include the sense of community and relationships we keep. If we are surrounded by people all day, but we are not accepted as we are, then are we truly in good company? The state of being lonely is not necessarily about being alone, but rather about feeling disconnected from others. Sometimes an environmental change can be something as simple as re-evaluating the relationships we have and learning to connect with people who appreciate us more.
I’ve provided these examples because they look simple enough in writing. However, we all know that turning an idea into a reality is a lot of work. Time, commitment, support, and funding is often needed to make major changes. Sometimes you just need some time and support to work hard and get to the next place you want to be. Sometimes you already have all those factors in place, but the only thing holding you back from making a change is fear of the unknown.
Therapy is a helpful tool in evaluating the pros and cons of a change, because there is also extensive discussion about your own values and needs, how to communicate your intent with loved ones, and how to begin the process of a change. A good therapist will not be a cheerleader, though. A good therapist will also challenge you to ensure that you are not simply escaping problems that may actually exist within you. If you have a problem or issue that is a pattern you carry within you, then we are glad to help you identify that and work on it, before making major changes.
If you are thinking about a major life change or transition, give us a call to find a therapist that can support you and appropriately challenge you on that journey!