Dr Ryan Sondergard: How Do Societal Expectations Impact Modern Mental Health?

In today’s modern society, expectations have exponentially increased, concurrently escalating the pressure you feel. From career choices and personal success to body image and lifestyle, societal expectations seep into every facet of your life. For Dr Ryan Sondergard, these pressures, though often unnoticed, can significantly impact the state of your mental health.

Success: A Timed Expectation

Many people feel the societal pressure to achieve success – professionally and financially – within a certain timeframe. The journey of climbing the proverbial career ladder is expected to be swift. Any derailments or pit stops are often seen as setbacks, causing stress, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy.

The Fear Of Failure And Perfectionism

The fear of failure or not meeting societal expectations frequently breeds perfectionism, which can be detrimental to mental health. Perfectionists often set extreme, unrealistic goals for themselves and can experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem when they do not meet their own high standards.

Body Image In The Spotlight

The media plays a significant role in shaping societal expectations about physical appearance. Exposure to ‘ideal’ body images on social media platforms and in advertisements can seed unrealistic beauty standards in individuals’ minds.

Disordered Eating and Body Dysmorphia

In a bid to align with these expectations, many people resort to excessive dieting or exercise regimes, with some even developing eating disorders or Body Dysmorphic Disorder. These endeavors can lead to feelings of discontent and self-loathing, contributing to the onset of severe mental health issues.

The Pressure of Finding ‘The One’

For Dr Ryan Sondergard, societal expectations about relationships can also pose a considerable obstacle, adding unnecessary strain and anxiety. The perceived necessity to find a significant other, get married, or start a family can weigh heavily on an individual’s mental health.

The Change in Relationship Dynamics

On the flip side, the progressive change in relationship norms toward acceptance of diverse relationship styles shakes the foundation of traditional societal expectations, causing turbulence among those trying to understand and navigate their authentic feelings.

The Role of Cultural Expectations

Your cultural background also shapes various societal expectations and influences your mental health. From expectations about traditional roles to pressure to uphold cultural practices and norms, these factors can induce feelings of stress, confusion, and anxiety, particularly among individuals who feel caught between cultural expectations and their individual identities.

Breaking Free From Societal Expectations

Breaking free from societal expectations does not mean disregarding societal norms. It involves understanding that these expectations are not mandates. It is okay to carve your path that aligns with your ambitions, dreams, convictions, and capabilities.

Seeking Professional Guidance

If societal expectations significantly impact your mental health, seeking professional help can provide a useful navigation tool. Therapists and counselors can offer coping strategies, helping you differentiate between societal pressures and your genuine desires.

Connecting With Support Groups

For Dr Ryan Sondergard, finding solace in support groups can also be a healing step, as they help realize that you are not alone in your feelings. The power of shared experiences can aid in building resilience and maintaining mental well-being.

Despite societal pressures, remember, your mental health is paramount. Being attuned to societal expectations but not bounded by them allows for a more liberating, fulfilling life. It’s okay to err, stumble, and restart, just as it’s okay to prioritize your mental health above societal expectations.