For All

How Capitalism Affects Our Mental Health

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Stefanie's integrative approach is supported by a solid theoretical framework and combines humanistic, body-oriented, systemic and behavioral therapy methods. She also considers societal topics in her work, such as feminism, anti-racism, and the impact of the climate crisis on our mental health.

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by It’s Complicated

“I have to be productive,” “I am only valuable if I perform,” or “I always have to be available” – these are beliefs I frequently encounter in my work. This is no surprise, since in our capitalism-obsesssed society, our worth is closely tied to achievement and productivity. We often glorify busyness and sacrifice our health for work, even meticulously scheduling our free time, leaving little room for rest or spontaneity.

As a result, many people unknowingly live with these stressful beliefs and suffer the consequences. We fail to notice or ignore signals from our bodies, constantly feel stressed, and struggle to find rest. Internalized capitalism leads to guilt during breaks and downtime, as well as the persistent feeling that we are inadequate.

Addressing the Issue

So how can we counteract this trend? On an individual level, we can embark on an introspective journey, questioning social norms and gradually aligning our lives with our true interests and values. It can be immensely helpful to examine obstructive beliefs and associated learned behaviors in a safe setting. Exploring our family background systemically can also shed light on the beliefs we adopted during childhood. Reconnecting with our body and its inherent wisdom is another valuable step towards achieving balance.

Additionally, there are several small steps we can take to reconnect with our needs, desires, and values:

  • Consciously plan alone time.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Reduce screen time, especially before and after sleep.
  • Give yourself adequate time to respond to messages.
  • Identify activities or topics that make you lose track of time and integrate them into your daily life.

The Importance of Individual and Collective Efforts

Engaging in this individual work is vital because it enhances our well-being and can inspire others to do the same. However, we also need to address the systemic issues. The obsession with productivity and capitalism’s focus on performance are no longer sustainable. The pursuit of unlimited economic growth is detrimental to both ourselves and our planet, despite what the media may portray. Moreover, this pursuit brings along additional challenges such as inflation, future anxieties, and global crises that disproportionately affect marginalized communities due to structural injustices.

Only by collectively reevaluating our perspectives and creating new systems that prioritize the well-being of all individuals and living beings can we make progress. Fortunately, many people have already embarked on this journey. They question the status quo, explore alternative ways of co-living, conducting business, and exchanging ideas that benefit the community.

Closing Questions

To conclude, I would like to leave you with a few questions:

  • When was the last time you simply did “nothing”?
  • How would your life look if money didn’t matter?
  • How would you spend your time and with whom?
  • What would you read, learn, and create?
  • What could a society built on solidarity and care look like?
  • How would we utilize public space, and what values would we teach our children?

These questions may seem distant from our current reality and may be challenging to engage with. If you need support in exploring these topics or have any other concerns, please feel free to reach out to me.

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