A Healthy Mind

"A fully functioning mind would resist the urge to compare ourselves unfairly to those who may, in reality, have had completely different upbringings and opportunities through life."

Photo: Van Gogh aux Carrières de lumière

A healthy mind would help us navigate the course of daily life and we may be oblivious to the complex operations it quietly performs in the background to keep us stable. A healthy mind would operate mostly like this:

  1. A healthy mind would analyze thousands of thoughts and edit out the ones that may not be useful, leaving us with the thoughts we need to effectively carry on our lives.

  2. A fully functioning mind would resist the urge to compare ourselves unfairly to those who may, in reality, have had completely different upbringings and opportunities through life.

  3. A healthy mind would keep fear at bay; it is aware that hypothetically there is an endless possibility of things to worry about; we could get run over, a scandal might end our career, or our lungs could collapse. It however would know the difference between catastrophic imaginings and what could in fact happen, so it doesn’t leave us fidgety all the time.

  4. A healthy mind is a master censor, it knows how to compartmentalize where it needs to – that not all thoughts belong at the same time. Thoughts of jumping off a bridge or thoughts of the erotic in the presence of a child would be treated as abnormalities not regularly scheduled programs.

  5. A healthy mind could focus on things and people outside itself. It could be in the moment and be a good listener (listening to nature, or listening to someone intently).

  6. A healthy mind wouldn’t use our worst moments in life as the standard quality of our lives. Although, it would take risks with strangers, it could also have a suspicion of some people and a fundamental trust in humanity.

  7. The healthy mind knows optimism, a kind of hope and a reason to keep going in the face of despair, anger, and sadness. It would appreciate the important things like a chat with a friend, a satisfying work day, and some smaller things like chocolate or a warm bath.

Writing out some features of a healthy mind would help us see where things could go badly. Our goal should be to behave less shamefully around mental illness and to be as proactive with getting mental health treatment as we would if we had a broken nose or a fever. We would nonetheless remain deserving of love and consolation.