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A mind in a healthy state is continuously performing a set of manoeuvres that uphold our moods.
A healthy mind is an editing mind that filters through particular ideas and sensations that actively need to be entertained so that we can direct our lives effectively.
A healthy mind resists unfair comparisons. It does not allow the successes of others to make us feel inadequate; neither does it frequently find fault with its own nature.
A healthy mind keeps at bay critical judgements. It does not tell us how appalling we are; instead, it allows us to talk to ourselves as we would to a friend.
A healthy mind knows that there are endless problems we could worry about. It can distinguish between what could conceivably happen and what is likely to happen.
It avoids catastrophic imaginings. It is confident that terrible things will either not happen, or it could be dealt with ably enough.
A healthy mind knows how to isolate negativity. It clings to evidence of what is still kind and beautiful.
It remembers to appreciate even the little things. It still looks forward to a hot bath, some dried fruit or dark chocolate, a chat with a friend.
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Love is critical to help us keep faith with life and rescue us from severe mental illness.
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When we are sick in our minds, we have this punishing sense of how terrible we are, even if we often can't point to a specific crime. We are appalled by, and unforgiving of, who we are.
In this situation, a loving companion can make all the difference. They don't try to persuade us of our worth. They make pleasant conversation about something that won't make us anxious. They can tolerate how ill we are and will stick by us. They love us for who we are rather than what we do.
Patronising pity can make the attention of others oppressive.
Loving companions do not judge us as beneath them. They don't oppress us by clinging to their belief in their own solidity and competence. Our companions indicate that they too might one day be in our place and suffer with and for us.
Some of our most despondent moods are caused by failures of the imagination. Imagination here is the power to envision alternatives. When we're sad, we can't imagine fi...
As grown-ups, we have choices. We are not small children where we have to depend on our parents for everything.
We could work as a bus conductor or retrain as a psychotherapist. We could volunteer in an emergency shelter. We can throw ourselves into learning a new language or take a university degree. We can look up old and trusted friends or make new friends.
To increase our chances of fulfillment, we need to feed our imagination and provide them with endless examples of alternative narratives, so they are more able to come up with plan Bs. We should practice to picture better ways to be.
As part of creative classes, adolescents should be asked to produce narratives like: If I lost everything and had to start up again, I will... They should be asked to make a list of 20 things that currently make life meaningful, then have to cross them all off and find ten more.
An often overlooked but essential ingredient in a good life is spontaneity. Without it, we may suffer from an excess of orderliness, caution and rigidity. We haven't danced in ...
We stay fixed in our familiar spot because any movement out of the known and calculated is experienced as intensely dangerous. We ruminate too much because we are trying to exert control. We seldom act, out of fear of making a huge mistake.
Spontaneity is a potential within all of us. It is almost always something we have lost because circumstances have stripped it away from our characters.
We’ll continue not to be spontaneous until we can understand how and why being spontaneous once felt so dangerous.
We should recognise that many of our inhibitions are no longer necessary - that we can relax from whatever fear we felt as children. We can prepare areas of great order and logic but then allow for moments when we relax, feeling safe in the knowledge that not everything is at stake. We can try to dance a little or take off without too much of a plan.