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Philosophical Look At Life And Mental Health

An examination of how mental health plays a part in ones happiness in life

Life is not always what it is cracked up to be. There are many factors to consider when it comes to what motivates us to do things and why we choose certain things over another.

Having worked in both mental health and philosophy for a while now, there's a lot with these assumptions that's right, and a few things that make me wonder.

1. She's absolutely right that people often do tell themselves they're doing fine when living an un-examined life. Kierkegaard wrote extensively on this; people often do whatever societal messages tell them they ought to do, then reach a point of dread when they start to wonder if they've really lead the life they wanted all this while. It's not true for everyone of course.

2. On the other hand, it's important to discern what you have control over, and what you don't. Some of her examples are things a person may genuinely need to find peace with (and thus, just be "fine"). Mother's never going to change? It's not your job to change other people to fit your liking, so for this, you do need to be fine. Your kids might really be harmed by a divorce depending on the situation, so it might actually be best to stay married and sleep in different beds. If you lost your job and can barely pay your bills, it might actually be hard to get another job. Straining and struggling against these things under the impression that if you just struggle hard enough, you can change them, is only going to lead to greater suffering. "Have strength to change the things you can, grace to accept the things you cannot, and wisdom to know the difference."

3. Calculating the odds of you being alive sounds inspirational, but there's no causative relationship between odds and the state of being. Odds are calculated after the fact. If I flip a coin, we could talk about the odds of it being 50/50 on heads or tails, or the odds that I would, on this day, be standing there, flipping that particular coin, after all the world events throughout human history have transpired, bringing us to these astronomical numbers that may make us feel like we're almost the center of the universe. We don't then consider that literally every mundane thought and act can also fit those same odds. But if this makes you feel inspired, then go for it.

4. What it takes to inspire change, and the science behind why people procrastinate, is more complex than it's being made to sound here. What works for one person might not work for another. It's simply flawed to say "you're never going to feel like it". For some people, sleeping on a decision, or waiting a week, is really all it takes, and then they definitely feel like it (I'm one such person). For others they may need a commitment device, which is a sort of cue that people create for themselves to change or initiate a behavior (like putting a quarter into a jar each time you use profanity). For others, a simple act of initial determination, such as the speaker describes - getting up 30 minutes earlier and waking up immediately one single day - may be enough. Most people will, after that one day, fall back into the same routine, if other changes and commitment devices aren't set up as part of a holistic structural change.

5. Building on the above point: "Do you think anyone who needs to go on a diet ever feels like it??" <-- yes. Ask any professional athlete. They feel like it all the time. It's part of what drives them. Again, it's complex, and each person is different.

6. There is merit to what she says about "forcing change". It's well documented that the human mind prefers familiarity and will stay in a given set of circumstances even if it's detrimental. "The devil I know is better than the devil I don't know". There are numerous ways for a person to leave their comfort zone, but each way is likely to cause discomfort of some kind, which logically follows given that it's called a "comfort zone". Discernment is still important here; especially in considering that it's not only you changing your environment - your environment can most certainly change you as well. And you might not want that.

7. Am not familiar at all with the "5 second rule". Moreover, it's not always a good idea to act on impulse. Approaches that involve discernment and self-understanding may lead to better results.

I don't think it's quite fair to say she is merely a motivational speaker without any substance or to say motivation is nothing special. That anyone can motivate. We are all at different places in our lives. Our perspective of life is coming from a different vantage point than others. She said many things I had not given thought too. And I believe that motivation is EVERYTHING to some people. Especially anyone trying to get through Depression. One has to rewire their brain to think in positive terms instead of negative. I thought the 5 second rule was very clever. I find it very easy to talk myself out of things because I simply have lost the desire to get out there an live my life. I know that I for one am going to try this suggestion of hers and do the best I possibly can to live up to it. It may look like baby steps to some of you.

But for me, personally speaking, any change I can make for myself at this point can only be for the best. If your life is going so good that you didn't find anything she said useful or inspirational, then hey, more power to you and congratulations. But there are so many others that don't walk in your very fortunate shoes. Things can happen in life that knock you down and you find it difficult at best to pull yourself back up and believe that you are allowed to be happy. That it's ok to put yourself first for a change. And I'm going to give it hell and I wish for myself, the best of luck on my new path. If you reply to this comment for any reason, please be courteous enough to be polite and don't be insulting. You may not take this serious, but I certainly do. Thank you in advance. And to anyone else who finds themselves in my situation, I wish you the best and I hope you find your true happiness.

When I was little I was bad I hated my self. I was horrible to my mum and I always was sad or mad or annoying someone. I wanted a new life because all day I would go to my room and cry and cry and cry non stop, I wanted to die. I still kinda feel like this now, I was so mean to my siblings my mum and my eldest sister. I try to be happy but that doesn’t work so I just paint a smile on my face and go to class. This is what I want, I want to be happy and not be mean to other but I cant because there's this little voice telling me to do it that might sound crazy but its true so I'm still trying to find how to stop that voice. If you need help use these links:

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