Healthy coping mechanisms among patients are at the forefront of counselors’ concerns. Water quality improvement is something chemical engineers deal with. But what if we told you that these two processes aren’t all that different from each other?
Chemistry Is Everywhere!
When brain function is chemically challenged, we use the necessary methods to source, retain, or flush out the compounds we need or don’t need. Similarly, water quality management is essentially a matter of chemicals that need to be added in or taken out.
We have tiny but hyper receptive neurotransmitters in our brains—these active fire messages from our environment. Dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are what mainly impact our moods and how they change.
It’s important to note these three because they play a huge role in stress management and overall happiness.
Dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are happy chemicals. Each of them has a different function. If you finished eating a yummy chocolate cake, and you want more, that’s dopamine. If you feel like crying tears of joy at a concert, that’s serotonin. When you’re raving all night, that’s norepinephrine.
These three are key to healthier brain chemistry. We have to get them just right because too much of them may cause mania, and too little may cause depression.
It is quite noticeable how the mental health movement slowly evolved and got more widely spread, from advertisements to restaurants and pop culture. Have you listened to “Serotonin” by Girl in Red? How about BØRNS’ “Dopamine”? It’s a good thing for these to be spoken about more commonly. It lessens the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Who better to talk about brain chemistry than with a counselor? Talk therapy, which is the heart of counseling, helps increase the brain production of these happy chemicals. Talk therapy is especially effective for short-term treatment, helping the patient understand and cope with life issues.
On the other hand, psychotherapy is a longer, more in-depth approach to improving one’s mental health, as it digs deeper into one’s past experiences to figure out why they are the way they are now. Counseling can be the quickest and easiest approach to getting things off your chest in this fast-paced world.
Counseling And Lakes
You’re not tripping. You read that right: counseling is very much like lake improvement.
Now we know basic brain chemistry and how counseling affects it, linking this to lake improvement may raise a few eyebrows at first. Counseling and lake improvement connect and relate, both figuratively and literally.
You might think that this connection is based on poetic metaphors or some strange and unverified opinions of environment alarmists, but it’s the total opposite. As it turns out, counseling and lake improvement are related in more ways than you can think of, and these are why:
Clean Lake, Clean Mind
Lakes are self-sustaining by default, but the stressors around them make all the difference. Likewise, the environment within which humans live is what pollutes our minds.
What’s even more troubling is that we are ultimately the cause of our mental health deterioration, as careless human practices contaminate self-sustaining bodies of water. Some studies claim that these practices affect our mental health negatively in the long run.
Exposure to toxins and pollutants in water has adverse effects on one’s mental health, as per some interesting research on the link between water pollution and psychiatric disorders among Indians. The effects of consuming arsenic-contaminated waters on Bangladeshi households, such as direct alteration of brain function and an increase in the possibility of depression, have been examined.
This tells us that caring for the environment means caring for your mental health. According to some studies compiled by the United Nations Environment Program, prolonged exposure to pollution has adverse effects on our brain chemistry and, in turn, on our mental health.
Being near clean water positively impacts our mental health. Have you ever heard of water therapy? Being around bodies of water, specifically clean ones, helps with stress relief, body alertness, and confidence.
It is safe to say that maintaining water quality and mental health go hand in hand. Our environmental health concerns need to be addressed just as much as our mental health ones.
Interpersonal Counseling And Nutrient Management
One of the many approaches to counseling is the interpersonal approach, which emphasizes the role of environmental stressors, especially when it comes to mood disorders. Mood disorders like bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder are affected mainly by serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain.
In the same way, the amounts of phosphorus, nitrogen, and oxygen in water determine water quality in lakes and streams. It has been proven time and again that interpersonal counseling is effective at helping in the treatment of psychiatric mood disorders, as much as nutrient management methods treat dirty lake water effectively.
Restorative Counseling And Shore/Land Restoration
Faith-based restorative counseling helps a lot when coping with loss or PTSD. Just like how a traumatic event maims the brain, bodies of water are contaminated by chemicals.
Eutrophication, for instance, is the seeping of chemicals like those from detergents into bodies of water. This results in algae growth. Some may think that it’s alright for algae to grow in water. However, environments that are conducive for algal blooms are those with so many toxins in them.
Shore or land restoration remedies this: planting flowers, shrubs, trees, and aquatic plants to absorb the contaminants in the lakewater. This dynamic is similar to being in mentally toxic environments, where faith-based restorative counseling serves as the absorber of aversive emotions.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Counseling and lake improvement are just parts of a bigger whole, and while both are effective solutions to mental and environmental health concerns, they are only temporary.
Counseling does not go as in-depth as psychotherapy. It does not address root issues among people, like childhood trauma. Similarly, lake improvement techniques do not address the necessary worldwide awareness towards water cleanliness preservation.
We need more holistic and comprehensive approaches to give our minds and our environment the love they deserve. May this ignite something in you to care for yourself and educate yourself more.