Welcome to HealthyPsych – we’re glad you showed up!
We hope to play a role in helping every person (that is, anyone who is interested) lead a happy, healthy, and big life. We draw from experts of all kinds in the formal, and informal sense, since each person is an expert on their own life. We want to hear from you – about what your thoughts and challenges are, and how our engaged community can help.
You can learn more about our philosophy and lofty goals for humanity by reading the following:
- HealthyPsych Mission (= longer version of the aforementioned)
- What does “Helping humans become more human” mean?
- What do you mean by having a “big” life?
HealthyPsych’s mission is to help all people – regardless of where they fall on the continuum of psychological health – lead a happy, healthy, and big life. We believe that this goal of ‘optimal psychological functioning’ can be accomplished, in large part, by rediscovering what it means to be fully human. By building a diverse, open and thoughtful online community centered around progressive psychology, HealthyPsych is hoping to play a role in facilitating this process.
HealthyPsych is committed to the following:
1.) Quality: providing information and tools that represent sound and practical means of enhancing human functioning.
This includes providing a diverse body of knowledge related to psychological health and personal development, ranging from academic and clinical sources in psychology/psychiatry/counseling/medicine and other relevant fields, to the valid standpoint of individuals, especially those whose voices have been underrepresented.
2.) Authenticity: being genuine and speaking one’s truth to the best of one’s ability, whether popular or not.
3.) Generosity: imbuing thoughts and actions with the spirit of generosity, which includes the recognition that working on oneself, striving for non-ego-based excellence, and supporting progressive initiatives, all support the greater good.
4.) Equanimity: taking life seriously, but not too seriously (as that is a recipe for suffering). Having a lighthearted approach toward oneself and others. Making the process of change, learning, and healing fun, whenever possible.
5.) Personal Growth: a “walk the talk” commitment to lifelong personal growth and development.
The degree to which you can “lead” others in their quest for personal growth is directly (but not exclusively) correlated with how far you have gone yourself. It’s not simply an intellectual process of understanding, although that’s important; it also requires ongoing attention to one’s own psychological development, in the various forms that may take.
What does your tagline, “Helping humans become more human” mean?
Our perspective at HealthyPsych is that humans are essentially smart, loving, curious, creative, motivated and generous at their core. Look at any baby or young person and you’ll easily see these innate qualities.
The human animal, unfortunately, has strayed from what it means to be fully human. This hasn’t been a conscious choice, but reflects years and years of both individual and collective conditioning, that has essentially made humans…well, less than fully human.
Sometimes the lack of humanity is blatantly obvious, like when someone commits a violent atrocity. More often, it’s subtle, like a well-intentioned parent so caught up in their work that they’re unable to fully connect with their family and community. Sometimes, it falls between the two extremes, manifesting as something like addiction or unresolved grief that prevents people from living their best life.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t great people out there. Of course, there are billions! It’s easy to see the goodness in the vast majority of people around the world when you get to know them. But, you can also see where people are struggling to treat themselves and each other well.
Some of the more subtle or culturally sanctioned ways of being that aren’t actually healthy have become so common that we consider them normal. When this happens, we are settling for less than our best as a human race.
A healthy psyche is one that is fully human. Any behavior that doesn’t reflect this is largely a psychological matter. So, we need to expand our understanding of what is “mentally healthy” to include not only the innate positive human qualities, but also things like: recognition of our common humanity; lack of discrimination in any form; openness to difference; and compassion for all.
Therefore, in addition to the common psychological problems often labeled as depression, generalized anxiety, bipolar, and attention-deficit disorder, HealthyPsych uses a broader definition that encompasses the sociological concepts of racism, sexism, xenophobia, ageism, classism, homophobia, ableism and more. These, too, are mental health issues (whether acted out or internalized, explicit or implicit).
The purpose of this isn’t to make people feel bad about themselves or the state of humanity. Rather, it’s to highlight an important opportunity in our world today: the good news that everybody can undo at least some, if not all, of the negative conditioning that has blocked our natural humanity.
While we’re not the first entity to draw attention to these issues, we believe that a universal, broad-minded psychology has been a missing ingredient in the mix.
Our hope through HealthyPsych is to provide some additional movement in this direction by:
- Increasing access to sound, practical tools and information that help people live satisfying and full lives
- Expanding the definition of what it means to by psychologically healthy (with the emphasis on the positive!)
- Helping people build strong and authentic connections to one another (which is perhaps the most fundamental determinant of psychological health)
- Inspiring people to get excited about their psychological wellbeing; seeing all “problems” as opportunities to heal and grow
- Fostering awareness of how individual psychological/personal development serves the greater good
What do you mean by having a “big” life?
“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”
Let’s start with what a “big” life isn’t:
A “big” life is not a value judgment. What is “big” or “happy” or “satisfying” to one, may be different to another. And, a big life isn’t about having a larger car, house, or ego (unless that is particularly important to you).
From our perspective at HealthyPsych, a “big” life means having the opportunity to live life to its fullest: relationally, intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually, occupationally and so forth.
It’s about having a life that is authentically one’s own, rather than one that is heavily influenced by others expectations and desires. It’s where each person gets to figure out and pursue interests, goals and relationships based on their deepest personal thoughts and values, all within the context of being a harmonious and benign member of society. Some people might say we already have this in places like the United States, but most can see that even in our land of tremendous opportunity, there exist powerful institutional forces, unclear thinking and other barriers that limit this possibility for many.
With the way our world is currently set up, many people are struggling to just get by, to stay afloat, to make it through the day or week. Even in communities with access to greater resources, support and opportunity, it’s not uncommon to find the general ethos being one that espouses competition over cooperation, ego over wellbeing, and separation over connection. While the factors contributing to the state of humanity are complex, shaped by years of collective conditioning, one thing is for sure – many, many people are hungering for more meaning and nourishment on a relational, emotional and existential level.
In other words, a bigger life.
For some, a big life is as simple as living in a healthy environment – one that is safe, with access to decent resources – that allows them to thrive, rather than just survive. For others, it’s about having the tools to go beyond a limited mindset and reach one’s full potential. For many, it’s about being a deeply connected and valued member of one’s family and extended community.
If all people were functioning at an optimal psychological level – one that is fully human – we’d be one step closer to a society and world where everyone has a shot at a big life, and (to paraphrase the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) one where all lives are equally valued. Some may balk at these ideas as too pie-in-the-sky, but to that we say, “why not?”
Learn more about the folks working on this site by visiting our Contributors page.