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Why do we experience mental health problems?

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Psychologists Cameron Staley and Jennifer Miesch discuss the reasons why we struggle with mental health even when our life is going well.

Mental health experts have been attempting to understand why humans struggle even when life is going well and all our basic needs are being met. We are now beginning to have a better understanding of why humans struggle.

Human suffering is not abnormal, it’s actually the by-product of language and an over active “problem solving mind.” Often our mind attempts to help us live a better life by trying to control uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, memories, or physical sensations. This solution actually becomes the problem and is the source of many mental health concerns.

The way forward is to begin observing our “problem solving mind” and become more aware of another important mode of our mind known as the “wise mind.” The wise mind exists in the present, is accepting of thoughts and emotions without judgment, and guides us toward living our values even when we feel uncomfortable. Developing openness, awareness, and engaging in what matters is the key to improving our mental health.

To learn more about counseling services for currently enrolled ISU students or general mental health resources, visit the ISU’s Counseling and Testing Service website.