If You Can’t Rewind…At Least Pause

Morning SkyDo you find your life to be crazy, out-of-control busy? I feel like I am hurtling through my life like a rocket, with very little time to enjoy the ride.  There’s always more to do than can ever get done and this can leave me feeling inadequate and constantly behind.  I often think:  if only I could do it all over again with what I know now.  But as we all know, we can’t rewind. Continue reading

A Twist on Grief

Garden StatueIf you’ve ever lost someone to death, you know it is a pain unlike any other. Much has been written about the stages of grief and grief recovery, so this is not the point of this blog.  Rather, I am commenting on something I find particularly interesting about grief.

Why do we grieve a loss?  Regardless of your specific views about what follows death, when the body ceases to exist, most people Continue reading

Never Just One Friend

Dead End SignWhen it comes to friends, the more the merrier. It is certainly nice to have a best friend, but if you stop there…you just may be in for a heartache.  And here’s why.

When you find a good friend, it is often because you overlap on very important characteristics or interests.  For example, you may both love old movies, arts and crafts, cooking and trips to the beach.  Engaging in these activities means lots of fun and laughter.   Continue reading

Why the Lone Wolf Howls

Howling WolfThe wolf, often hated and feared by humans (particularly cattle ranchers) indeed suffers from an image problem. If you’ve ever heard a wolf howling in the night, the chilling sound inspires fear in most people.  Yet research is finding that the wolf has a bum rap – he actually has a soft side.  Wolves demonstrate attachments to specific pack members and howling is most prevalent when separated from that particular individual as well as for their pack leader.  In other words, the wolf howls not out of aggression…but for love. Continue reading

Keys to Mental Fitness: Part II

Homeless with DogAs stated in Part I, my theoretical framework on mental fitness is that a good outcome for our social, emotional or mental lives is directly related to good skill use, which is the acquisition and practice of skills across multiple important life contexts.  And the question was how do we accumulate these skills and what happens if we don’t?

For me, the answer to this question is rooted in our development.   Continue reading

Keys to Mental Fitness: Part I

Homeless with DogAs I have already pointed out, we cannot expect to perform adequately without adequate skill.  This is true for any endeavor, whether we are learning to play tennis, the piano, manage finances, build a house or perform adequately in social settings, in our marriage or on the job. It is ridiculous to expect that a poor skill set will produce anything close to the results we desire – if indeed we desire excellence and sustainable success. I say sustainable success because some people “fall into” success just because of a favorable Continue reading

Mental Fitness is a Skillful Endeavor

Wheat Field IMG_1945I define mental fitness as distinct and completely different from the disease model of mental health. It is truly an animal of a different color. Where mental health is based on disease and disorder, mental fitness is based on the acquisition and practice of a specific set of skills.

To better demonstrate this idea, let’s consider a story of two young men.  Tommy was born to farmers in the rural town of Jessup, Continue reading

The Fault of Mental Health

NuttySquirrelI am currently working on a book, The Art of Mental Fitness, in which I will explore in detail the different aspects of mental fitness.  As I work on this book, discussing different aspects of mental fitness and defining mental fitness as distinct from mental health is helpful and I would welcome feedback from the readers.

The idea behind focusing on mental fitness, rather than mental health, stems largely from the stigma associated with mental health Continue reading

The Art of Mental Fitness

mental fitness

Art by Tori Hickman

Living life well is an art. Much like an incredible painting, it doesn’t happen accidentally. It takes skill and practice. It takes patience and diligence.  And the art of one person does not necessarily match the art of another person, though there may be some common elements to the form of good art.

Mental fitness requires learning a set of skills across multiple areas of an individual’s life.  To be mentally fit is to possess adequate social, Continue reading

What is Mental Fitness: Part III

IMG_0055…Continued from Part II

Given the stigma associated with anything related to mental health, we must approach emotional and mental health in a different way. Ergo…mental fitness.  I think this term appropriately positions the concept away from the medical model that is illness-based.  Rather than thinking about emotional and mental health as needing to Continue reading