Healthy mental abilities
American researcher, Al Siebert, believes that anyone can develop
some healthy abilities if they can learn a form of self-motivated
In order to achieve this growth, one must seek, support and develop
the following seven forms of behaviour:
The first ability is playfulness, which involves trying to get
into such a positive state that it is possible to venture out into
meaningless play activity. Play serves as a kind of relief for
the soul, since unpleasant and negative thoughts are kept distant.
The second is about encouraging yourself to develop a very deep
preoccupation with the activities you are involved with. This involves
developing an intense concentration that leads to maximum absorption
and quality in the activity. If you have developed this capacity
sufficiently, you are able to block out everything else.
The third ability is innocent curiosity. Curiosity should be understood
here as an intense and vital engagement in factors outside one's
self, and an interest in venturing out into unknown areas. The
innocence consists in the fact that interest in others never takes
on the character of obtrusive inquisitiveness.
The fourth quality is to nurture a non-judgemental attitude to
other people. That is not to say that you have to uncritically
accept everything around you, but that you should avoid seeing
other people in the distorted mirror that results from prejudice
The fifth ability is purposeful unpretentiousness. This involves
very actively being aware of and working against the formal stiffness
that characterises many situations. You seize any opportunity to
turn things upside down, to make people smile and create a relaxed
The sixth form of behaviour involves open self-criticism. This
is not about evaluating yourself very negatively on the basis of
exaggerated perceptions in order to gain understanding, support
and sympathy from other people. Open self-criticism should rather
reflect such inner strength that you are not afraid to be critical
towards yourself, with the aim of learning to do things better.
The last ability is about developing an active day-dreaming
This can be used to test out fictional and even unrealistic options,
which increases creativity and dynamism in tight situations.
In summary, there is much to suggest that mental and physical health
is generally strengthened by seeking to acquire as many widely
different and contrasting forms of behaviour as possible.
If you are in a problem situation and only have narrow and limited
choices of action, and do not have the courage or imagination to
think creatively, you are more vulnerable.
Al Siebert: The Survivor Personality, Perigee Books/Berkley Publishing