How Do Our Belief Systems Affect Our Mental Health?

The belief systems we carry with us into adulthood are often formed during our childhoods. We inherit them from our families. We develop them on our own from our own experiences and unique perspectives. We adopt other people’s beliefs as our own when they resonate with us. Our belief systems inform how we feel about ourselves, other people, our lives, and the world we live in. They dictate what kind of people we want to be and what kind of lives we want to live. Our belief systems create the foundation for our mental and emotional health. If we have belief systems rooted in our own self-hatred, we will likely follow a path of self-destructiveness. If we believe we’re capable of happiness and inner peace, we’ll be able to achieve them. If we’ve developed a belief system that we’re doomed to a life of unhappiness and torment, that is the future we’ll likely manifest for ourselves.

Any thought pattern we practice consistently can become a belief, and the beliefs we perpetuate over time become our belief systems. We form attachments to these belief systems and come to depend on them to be true. Otherwise, our sense of reality, justice and fairness can be shaken and called into question. We doubt ourselves and other people. We’re consumed by mistrust and fear. The belief systems we have that are built upon limiting beliefs about ourselves are particularly damaging to our mental and emotional health. We believe we’re unworthy, unlovable and inadequate. We believe we’re easily threatened and replaceable. We don’t believe in ourselves or our inherent value. We don’t believe in our capacity for transformation. We don’t believe we can get well and recover from our addictions and mental health issues.

Our belief systems impact not only how we think and feel but also how we behave and how we operate in our lives. When we are holding onto self-deprecating belief systems, we impede our self-confidence and our faith in ourselves. When we have limiting belief systems around our purpose and our value in the world, we shut down and stop giving our gifts and sharing our strengths. We might become increasingly depressed and anxious because we’re fighting against these belief systems that are bringing us down. We might use our drugs of choice to drown out the painful thoughts and feelings our belief systems cause us. In these ways, our belief systems can have directly harmful effects on our mental and emotional health. Working to recover will mean examining all of the belief systems we’re still carrying within us that are contributing to our unwellness.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you get back the life you love. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.