Celebrating mental health
Gavin T. Murphy keeps a blog on ilovebipolar.com and he looks to Ignatian Spirituality for strength and inspiration.
Referring to a point I made previously in my blogpost, Mentally healthy, someone with bipolar and someone without bipolar can actually be at the same point on the mental health continuum. I noted a range of experiences from distress (bad stress) to eustress (good stress) that can occur all in one day. I update this thought in accordance with models of stress to say that there can be a wider range still.
On a continuum from left to right a person experiences boredom when there is a low level of stress and low level of performance, eustress when there is a moderate level of stress and high level of performance and distress when there is a high level of stress and low level of performance. Again, someone with bipolar and someone without bipolar can be on the same point of this continuum.
Something that surprises me is that in some models of stress calm is associated with boredom. I heartily disagree on this point. Rather, calm ought to be associated with eustress. An effective entrepreneur or spiritual leader performs best – making good decisions, being present with people, effectively dealing with tasks – when they are connected with their calmness, their inner flame, their joie de vivre (‘joy of living’).
This outlook promotes meditative exercises, e.g., deep breathing, creative art, and listening to the ocean waves to enhance performance. Life without calm is actually an experience of boredom or distress where meditative exercises are not practised.
With boredom there is a sense of loss or nothingness. In this case, we would do well to return to our inner flame through a more active meditative exercise. With distress, we may think we are performing well but in reality the quality of our work is poor. We would do well to STOP through a more silent meditative exercise.
The real deal
The true entrepreneur or spiritual leader is steady and calm in a world that has competing desires for good and evil. They operate out of a deeper level of experience, and in line with my own model of spirituality and mental health they ‘burst out in praise’ in the midst of pain or suffering.
So, I celebrate the gift of being mentally healthy. I enjoy a meditative life of moderate stress and high performance, and I catch myself from falling into boredom or distress whenever I can. I respond in gratitude for my life by living it well.