The term “mental environment” refers to the psychological and emotional atmosphere that surrounds an individual or a group of individuals. It encompasses the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, values, and emotions that shape a person’s mental and emotional state. The term is frequently used to criticize the mental environment in industrialized societies. It is argued that just as industrial societies produce physical toxins and pollutants which harm humans physical health, they also produce psychological toxins (e.g. television, excessive noise, Internet addiction, social media) that cause psychological damage.
This poor mental environment may help explain why rates of mental illness are allegedly higher in industrial societies, which may also have roots in a poor educational environment and mechanical routinized life. Such communal settings make an important contribution in terms of magicalo-religious beliefs. Delusions like these, which have their roots in childhood, can be difficult to eradicate from a person’s life.
The mental environment can be shaped by various factors, including social and cultural norms, family and peer relationships, education and learning experiences, media and technology, and individual temperament and personality. It can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and well-being, affecting their mood, thoughts, and behaviors.
Just like physical environments can impact our well-being, mental environments can also affect our mental health and overall well-being. For example, a negative mental environment characterized by pessimism, cynicism, and hostility can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. On the other hand, a positive mental environment characterized by optimism, support, and encouragement can contribute to a sense of well-being and resilience.
The concept stems from evolutionary psychology, as the negative consequences of a poor mental environment can be explained by a mismatch between the mental environment humans evolved to exist in and the one they currently exist in.
The mental environment can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the people we interact with, the media we consume, our living and working conditions, our cultural background, and our personal experiences. It is important to be aware of the mental environment we are in and take steps to create a positive and healthy mental space. This can involve surrounding ourselves with positive influences, practicing mindfulness and self-care, seeking professional help when needed, and cultivating a positive mindset.
“We live in a mental as well as a physical environment. We can influence the mental environment around us, but the mental environment influences us far more. The mental environment contains forces that influence our thinking and emotions and have the potential to dominate our individual minds.” Summers, Marshall Vian.
It is important to pay attention to our mental environment and take steps to create a positive one. This may involve seeking out supportive relationships, engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment, cultivating a positive mindset, and practicing self-care and stress management techniques.