On Mental Health

Whenever somebody says, “I am struggling in my attempts to be physically healthy”, most of us are more than happy to tell the person how they should exercise or what they should eat.

But when somebody says, “I am struggling in my attempts to be mentally healthy”, we fall silent. What does it even mean to be mentally healthy?

As we grow up, we are frequently taught that we should eat well, exercise often, and that we must look after our physical well-being, especially when we hurt ourselves or become ill. Very rarely are we taught what to do when our mental well-being is challenged in the same way.

What should I do when things don’t go my way? How should I react to and cope with disheartening news? How should I treat difficult obstacles in my path? You will have to answer these questions repeatedly throughout your entire life. We often stumble around, trying to figure out these answers for ourselves as we move forward.

The answers to these questions are far more important than the answers to “How can I gain more muscle?” or “How can I lose more weight?”. That is not to say that physical health is not important, it should simply take a back seat to our mental well-being.

We often have many answers on hand for the questions related to physical health, but very few answers prepared for our mental health, for our overall well-being.

Physical health has undergone an awareness explosion in the past few years. More and more people are focusing on how to eat and exercise properly. I feel that we also need an awareness explosion in the realm of mental health.

These are important questions that we need to ask ourselves, and find real answers to, if we are ever to truly understand how we can live well.

We need a philosophy of life to guide us, otherwise we risk losing our way.

General Thoughts

The above is taken from a post that I made on Facebook a few months ago. During that time, I had been noticing a trend among  my Facebook friends, that many of them were posting about physical fitness, and how it is very important to eat right and exercise.

At the time, I was looking into what it meant to be mentally healthy with a little help from The School of Life, and I wondered why we are often so quick to talk about physical health in a social settings, but very reluctant to talk about mental health.

The obvious answer is that it is much easier for us to gauge somebody’s overall physical health at a glance, as opposed to their mental health. I also think that modern day society has made it taboo to an extent, to talk about mental health. Talking about such things is often seen as a weaknesses.

Because we do not talk about these issues much, people often struggle in dealing with mental and emotional problems. They do not have strategies on hand that will tell them how to process these problems when they arise. We know of so many different strategies that can tell us how to lose fat and gain muscle, but we are often left wanting when mental issues arise.

Philosophy can help us with this problem. I have found that philosophy, specifically ancient Greek and Roman Stoicism, to be very helpful for me in this regard. We must share these ideas  on how to handle these problems with each other and not be afraid to talk about these issues if we are to benefit from them, together.

Would you have known the most efficient way for you to strengthen your abs if nobody had told you how? Sure, you might have been able to figure it out on your own after some trial and error, but why not ask in the first place?

We can all learn from each other, why not share what we know?


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