Compassionate Counseling

Spiritually-Integrated Psychotherapy and Counseling, a service of CSER


Compassionate Counseling

Twenty-Two Gauges of Mental Health

By: Bill Borcherdt, ACSW, BCD. CICSW NACBT Advisor

Blanketed under rational emotive behavior therapies (REBT) umbrella, mental health can be defined as knowing what to realistically expect of self, others, and life. Everybody has their moments of insecurity but thanks to Albert Ellis, the originator of the cognitive behavioral movement, the anatomy of emotional health can be lifted out and introduced as emotional self-control guides to everyday living. Included in the mechanics of mental health are the following characteristics of emotional balance:

  1. A sense of humor. Humor. laughter, gaiety and joy can help bring on sparks of fulfillment, creativity and enlightenment. Most importantly it assists you to not take , yourself as seriously as you may tend to.

  2. The capacity to entertain oneself. Self-reliance in determining what to do with your time encourages personality well-roundedness while combating the boredom that reflects a ho-hum existence.

  3. Understand that there is more than one way of looking at self. Nietzsche, the philosopher said: "This is my way, what is your way? The way doesn’t exist."

  4. Acceptance of the right to be wrong. To acknowledge and accept human fall ability is to encourage mistakes, which in turn welcomes learning from your errors.

  5. Decent respect for individual difference. One of the hardest, yet one of the most important things to successfully digest is to figure out how another could believe differently than you.

  6. The ability to live with uncertainty. Life is random. impartial, causeless and objective. To accept this reality is to lessen chaos.

  7. Acceptance of the inevitable. Givens such as death, conflicts, disapproval and other various forms of hassle best be determined to exist as to protest against these realities will likely bring on emotional disturbance.

  8. Live your life by preferences which have alternatives rather than by demands which don't leave options and margin for error.

  9. The ability to learn from adversity and from your mistakes. Heavy doses of consequential thinking can help in learning from faulty judgements that will otherwise end you in the mistake bin.

  10. Approach life non-defensively. Explain if you wish, but don't over-explain. Life is not a courtroom with you putting yourself on trial.

  11. Unconditionally accept yourself (USA). To do so is perhaps the best present that you could give to yourself.

  12. A decent respect for human limitations — rather than an intimidation of human limitations.

  13. Enlightened self-interest. Putting yourself first and others a close second has advantages for all concerned.

  14. Sort out want from need; desire from demand; wish from insistence.

  15. Open-mindedness. Think in flexible, give and take, well thought out ways and see if such expansive thinking cuts you some slack.

  16. Decide for yourself. Don't give blind adherence to those who think they know what is best for you — it is likely that this same crew has multiple problems of their own.

  17. High frustration tolerance (HFT). Patience affords the time and opportunity to increase your chances of getting what you want from life.

  18. Empathy. To be able to walk a mile in another's moccasins while giving expression to and understanding of the others feelings can be a delightful experience for the both of you.

  19. To be able to appreciate others success as a sign of maturity.

  20. To cultivate a vital absorption. A special hobby, interest or project can leave you with a sense of fulfillment that you can turn to when not feeling up to par.

  21. Forgiveness as the most important "F" word.

  22. Tolerance. To tolerate that which is uncomfortable more frequently leads to eventual success.

Rational in a general sense is to live, survive and be happy. In a more specific manner it is those thoughts, feelings and behaviors that contribute to your long range happiness and survival. This writing has tried to identify some of those features of the human condition that can be used to ones advantage in their pursuit of happiness. Each concept can be viewed like grass coming up through the crack in the cement – if watered often enough the grass can push it's way through the crack. So too, a fruitful idea that has the potential to develop human emotional progress be woven into ones everyday influence until it takes hold in a way that greater emotional balance can be grown and utilized.