What Is Mental Health?

F or the vast majority of modern medical history, “health” was basically defined as the absence of disease. If you weren’t sick, you were healthy. Mental health was treated the same way: if you weren’t a crazy loon, then you were considered mentally healthy.

But as medicine and psychology advanced, it became clear that our mental health included a wider range of emotional and social factors that don’t necessarily have much to do with mental illness. Mental health became more closely associated with well-being across all domains of our lives — both personally (psychological, emotional, cognitive, etc.) …


E verything you do in life is a trade-off. Anything you say, do, or pursue has a cost and a benefit. Those costs and benefits may not always be immediately apparent — sometimes the costs and benefits are dislocated in time, the benefit being immediate and the cost in the distant future. Sometimes the costs or benefits are subtle and psychological. But nonetheless, there is always a trade-off.

We like to believe that we can find a life of only pleasure and no pain, of only success and no failure, of only acceptance and no rejection. But this is impossible…


A couple of weeks ago, I was doing market research on mental health apps, downloading anything onto my phone related to relieving stress, anxiety, depression, and so on. I wanted to see what’s going on in that part of the industry and if maybe I wanted to drop a bunch of money into a sinkhole trying to make one myself.

Most of the apps advertise themselves as “self-care” apps. They have cute and fancy names intentionally misspelled by one letter. They promise to reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, and help you destress in difficult situations. …


It depends on the type of self-esteem you’re pursuing

Photo: The Good Brigade/Getty Images

I magine there’s a classic movie. It’s called Self-Esteem: First Blood, and it stars James Dean and Marlon Brando. It’s the mid-20th century, post-World War II. Pan across the charred remains of Europe. Show the brave American heroes returning home, buying cheesy houses and making tons and tons of babies.

In the film, we see this: Post-war prosperity made for heady times, more and more people from all walks of life began to buy into the American Dream — the belief that they could be whatever they wanted to be as long as they worked hard and cultivated the qualities…


K en Wilber is the smartest man you’ve never heard of. He’s a philosopher and mystic whose work attempts to integrate all fields of study into one single model or framework of understanding.

When I say, “all fields of study,” I mean that literally. Wilber believes that every field of knowledge contains at least one aspect of truth, no matter how small, and that reconciling disparate disciplines is a matter of integrating what’s right about them rather than discounting them for being partially wrong. …


When I was a kid, there were serious discussions in churches, schools, and in front of Congress about whether the music my friends and I listened to might be satanic.

I remember my friend’s mother making him throw away all of his Metallica tapes. I remember hiding the parental warning labels when asking my mom to buy the new Pantera album. I can still see my father breaking my Bone Thugs-N-Harmony CD in half when he realized they dropped more F-Bombs than Nixon in Cambodia.


S o you want to change your life, eh? You want to turn it all around and ooze silky smooth confidence while you kill it in a new career with a new car and a new spouse and a new dog because the old one smells like a dead rat?

When most people set out to change their lives, they often focus on all the external stuff, like a new job or a new location or new friends or a new romantic prospects and on and on.

The reality is that changing your life starts with changing the way you…


T he English philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

Perhaps what’s even more amazing is that he said this long before the advent of the internet.

Today, due to the joys of social media, we are regularly exposed to legions of people who believe they know what the fuck they are talking about when they do not. …


Note: This was originally written for my weekly newsletter. You can sign up for it here.

W elcome to another Mindf*ck Monday, the only weekly newsletter where the ideas are as good as the jokes are bad. Each week, I send you three potentially life-changing ideas to help you be a slightly less awful human being. This week, we’re talking three popular ways to “get better” — 1) therapy, 2) journaling, and 3) meditation — and why I believe they’re all actually kinda the same thing.

Let’s get into it.

Therapy

Why does Talking to Someone About Our Problems Make Us…


B ack in the spring of 2020, we each got a front-row seat to the wonders of the human capacity to cope with rampant uncertainty. Within weeks, people developed wild and unhinged beliefs about the virus, health care workers, their leaders and their countries.

Some rebelled and channeled their angst outward. Crime spiked. Protests raged across the world. Others turned inward. Suicides and depression reportedly skyrocketed. Anxiety ran rampant. People became burnt out and went stir crazy.

Others distracted themselves. Video games, alcohol, and drugs surged. Anything to “take the edge off.”

Pandemics seem almost perfectly catered to prey on…

Mark Manson

Author of #1 NYTimes Bestseller ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’. OG Blogger. Psychology Nerd. I enjoy cats and whiskey. But not at the same time.

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