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Healthy mental abilities

American researcher, Al Siebert, believes that anyone can develop some healthy abilities if they can learn a form of self-motivated growth.
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 and taboos.

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 atmosphere.

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 imagination. 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.

Source:
Al Siebert: The Survivor Personality, Perigee Books/Berkley Publishing Group, 1996.

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