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It's okay to still be struggling even if you feel like your life is great

Psychologist Dr. Karen Doll says many of her patients have been feeling guilty for struggling with their mental health, even as they see more hope.

MAINE, USA — There seems to be a new wave of people struggling with their mental health through the pandemic. While there has been a renewed sense of hope for many, others are still battling anxiety as the global pandemic continues.

Dr. Karen Doll is a licensed psychologist and author of "Building Psychological Fitness: How High Performers Achieve With Ease." She said she's heard from many patients who are struggling but feeling guilty about it. Here's why you shouldn't:

"COVID-19 has impacted everyone on the globe to varying degrees. A challenge I frequently hear is people are struggling, yet they feel guilty about it because, by western societal standards, their life is 'great.' They are healthy, employed, and have a family," Doll said. "So they aren’t struggling in the literal sense, yet their life feels like a struggle."

Here's the challenge with that. 

"We grow up with misconceptions of what thriving looks like. We’re given a repeated message of what 'happy' or 'success' looks like. We’re sold a story that if we get into the right college, get the right job, right partner, make X amount of money, then life will be great. We will be happy but only you know what will make you happy," Doll said.

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Things like Disney movies or Instagram posts only push those unfair standards of what life should be like or what it's supposed to look like. 

"Then we face the daily realities, challenges, and boredom that adult life brings, and it doesn’t add up," Doll explained. "High achievers often buy into the myth that fatigue is a weakness."

So if our lives are so great, why are we miserable?

"We need a reset. We need to recalibrate with reality," Doll said. "We need to understand what is attainable? What is realistic? What are our human limitations? What will really make us happy?"

Challenge yourself to answer those questions daily, Doll said. Take it day by day, and create new goals for yourself. Change won't come quickly, but it's important to take hold of your mental health as early as you can.

To learn more about Dr. Doll's book, "Building Psychological Fitness," click here.

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