American psychologist Nancy describes the 16 key signs of mental health
Nancy McWilliams, an American psychologist who is over 60 years old, has repeatedly stressed in her writings and interviews that the main social cause of psychological problems in today’s competitive society is indifference among individuals. People neglect the needs of others and lose trust in one another. There is a kind of complex interpersonal relationship of “both want to be close and remain alienated”.
Nanchy McWilliams believes: “Closeness and alienation are a pair of antithetical ideas in the human character and present a kind of split personality. Most people tend to be mildly split in their personality. On the one hand, we aspire to create relationships of trust, and on the other hand, there is a strong inner voice reminding us that we cannot cling to others too much. If such conflict goes to the extreme, pathological symptoms may emerge. This is a result of ‘cumulative trauma’. For example, if the parents asks their child to be independent too early, or on the contrary, overly interferes with or controls their child’s life, their child may have a split personality. The core feature of this personality is a fear to love and form close relationships with others. All those who find it hard to develop a lasting, trusting and close relation with others fall into such type. This ‘cumulative trauma’ is very commonly seen in the traditional Chinese family.”
Nancy explained the 16 signs of mental health.
Capacity to love: It applies to both our partner and family members, as well as to any other person we would like to love. We are able to accept reality and open our hearts.
Capacity to work, create, and invent: It means we can not only make progress in our career, but also create valuable things for ourselves and others. Being able to leave our traces in other people’s lives is a sign of mental health.
Capacity to play and joke: It means the ability to perceive humor, liberate ourselves from a state of mental stress through games (sports, social contacts). This brings great benefits and rest to our nervous system.
Capacity to choose a safe relationship: The instinct of self-protection is inherent in all living creatures. Choosing a bad relationship is equal to self-destruction. Therefore, a mentally healthy person will try to avoid such danger.
Capacity to be independent: It means our ability to make decisions on our own and take responsibility for the results of our choices.
Capacity to accept our own and others’ personalities: Every person has both good and bad personalities. A mentally healthy person can make proper evaluations of them and accept them psychologically.
Capacity to recover from pressure: Our mind can’t be under pressure for a too long a time. The more we can adapt to changes, the more we will be able to resist pressures.
Stable self-esteem: Over self-criticism or overestimating oneself are often caused by the big gap between our expectations and reality, which may result in pressure and disappointment.
Conscious value system: Having certain values gives us a sense of security and stability. Our values may change with time or based on different situations.
Capacity to feel different emotions and endure corresponding pressure: It means we know how to feel the emotions and control the emotions rather than being controlled by it. In our heart, we are able to keep the balance between sense and sensibility.
Capacity to deal with problems: It means we can think and deal with problems independently, and come up with effective ways to tackle the problems.
Capacity to distinguish where the emotions come from: We understand that our emotions come from ourselves not others, including all our feelings and desires. For example, hatred is a feeling stemming from ourselves. It has nothing to do with anyone else. Don’t try to impute it to others. However, most people fail to understand or to do it.
Capacity to use self-protection mechanism flexibly and properly: When we have stress or anxiety, our brain tries to make us flee from it, to avoid or neglect the annoying things and problems. This helps us to keep calm. However, a healthy person can also deny this signal from the brain and go on doing the things that he feels need to be done.
Capacity to keep a balance of one’s own benefits and those of others: It means we are able to make a proper judgement of what benefit we have got and what others have got, and have the ability to comfort ourselves. To keep a balance of these two parties’ benefits is very important.
Capacity to be alive: Being alive is one of the major features of human activity.
Capacity to accept one’s limits: This refers to the capacity to feel angry or painful, and at the same time understand and accept our inability to change the situation.
A mentally healthy person is not perfect either. They may also feel weak sometimes. But they can correct the mistakes over time and learn from past experiences. They understand their strong points and weaknesses. They do and behave according to their abilities. They are kind-hearted and optimistic.