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Achieving Great Mental Health is a Habit


It’s not a hope or a prayer.

It’s a habit.

It’s an active willingness to carry on, to do what it takes to learn how to be who you are in this world.

Mental health is a rewiring of the brain. It’s a song of soaring synapses.

It’s a commitment to be better.

It’s holding onto hope while taking daily, persistent action to get stronger.

I wish it weren’t this way.

I wish I could tell myself that I no longer have anxiety, that I no longer have OCD tendencies, that intrusive thoughts will simply go away.

I know that I have work to do every single day.

Saying it this way sounds like a chore. It sounds like one heck of a monotonous grind.

But life is a grind. It’s waking with the intention to face the world, come what may.

We enter this world naive.

We are sold a bill of goods that is not entirely true.

Yes, we can become whatever we want to be, but the first part of the story is the pretty, innocent hope and the prayer.

The part of becoming who you are requires long hours of hard work, of habits, of persistence to figure it all out.

I’ve had this within me for a long time, but I’m just now learning how to use it.

You have this too, this inner drive. You are capable of greatness.

But the greatness appears through pressure. The rough exterior gets worn away over time to reveal the gleaming wonder that is underneath.

But, you might ask…

Why doesn’t the gleaming wonder appear straight away?

Isn’t that what we’re told when we’re young?

Fairy tales are told to children so that they won’t be scared to try — so that they won’t quit before they have the chance to start.

Because the reality of being an adult is not so glamorous. It doesn’t match the fairy-tale stories of youth.

So what does it take to build great mental health?

It takes hard work.

It takes humility.

It takes an inner resolve only gained through outer persistence.

You have to toil outdoors to appreciate indoor luxury.

You have to fail at your greatest aspirations to realize your dreams were too small in the first place.

Life isn’t meant to be easy — not for you, not for anyone.

Life is meant to be built one block at a time.

When you are a child, you build structures — out of blocks, out of the sand, out of whatever it takes to get the task done.

And only the child knows when the task is done.

Then comes adulthood, and we expect the outcome to come easy and the end results to forever satiate us.

How can a child know that that’s not how it works, and how can an adult forget the lessons that were, at one point, intuitive?

It’s not your fault.

Mass marketing seeks the lowest common denominator. It tells you that your ultimate goal is to live a life of comfort.

But comfort can’t be bought. It comes from doing the hard work to earn you a life well-lived.

It takes an amalgamation of days upon days, which eventually turn into weeks, which eventually construct years, to, one day, become the sandcastles of your youth.

The child knows she must work to learn the lesson. If a child doesn’t learn, she won’t progress. She won’t make any friends, and she won’t get to break away.

So why don’t these lessons transfer to adulthood?

There’s one thing the child knows that you have been forgetting.

Just because something is hard work doesn’t mean that it can’t also be a time of wondrous play.

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Photo courtesy iStock Photo.



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