22. Understanding Mental Health - SPIRIT
In this course, Spirit looks at purpose, its role in providing fulfillment and happiness, and how to deal with the thinking that can keep us from finding that purpose and ultimate fulfillment. Emerging research shows that 'meaning in life' predicts better physical health outcomes. Greater meaning has been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, reduced risk of heart attack among individuals with coronary heart disease, reduced risk of stroke, and increased longevity in both American and Japanese samples.
In 2014, the British National Health Service began recommending a five step plan for mental well-being, based on meaningful lives.
The steps are:
1. Connect with our family and community
2. Physical exercise
3. Lifelong learning
4. Giving to others
5. Being aware or mindful of the world around you
Researchers in positive psychology have found that following these steps leads to fuller engagement in activities, greater contribution to society through utilising one's personal strengths, greater meaning based on investing in something larger than the self and improved life satisfaction.
Large-data studies of 'flow' experiences (a state of complete immersion in an activity) have consistently suggested that humans experience meaning and fulfillment when mastering challenging tasks. The experience comes from the way tasks are approached and performed, rather than the particular choice of task. A classic example is of two workers on an apparently boring production line in a factory. One treats the work as a tedious chore, while the other turns it into a game to see how fast she can make each unit, and achieves 'flow' in the process. Our attitude toward tasks is far more important than what we actually do.
"Just as the car is of little value unless we undertake a journey, our Body and Mind are of little use unless we have a purpose in life".