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You are what you habitually do
你是什么样子,这由你的习惯而成
Mental health is a frequently misunderstood topic:
心理健康是个经常被人误解的话题:

Many people believe that mental health is predetermined — that you are essentially at the mercy of your genetics and brain chemistry.
许多人认为心理健康是先天的,你会这么认为,可能是受遗传和大脑化学的影响。

Other people believe that it’s simply a matter of will power — this is exemplified by the “just think positive” mentality.
其他人则认为,这仅仅是意志力的问题-“正念”就是例证。

But the truth is in the messy middle:
但事实介于两者之间:

Mental health is not a matter of fate or a single decision—it’s mostly a matter of habits.
心理健康不是命运或一个决定的事情,而主要是习惯的问题。

In my work as a psychologist, the best way I’ve found to help people strengthen their mental health is to help them cultivate healthy habits, especially mental habits.
在我作为心理学家工作的过程中,我发现帮助人们加强心理健康的最好方法就是帮助他们养成健康的习惯,尤其是心理习惯。

This doesn’t mean that other factors like your biology or social context don’t matter — they definitely do! But for most of us, the thing we have the most control over is the habits we choose to build and live by.
这不代表其他因素(比如你的遗传或社会背景)都不重要,它们绝对是重要的!但对我们大部分人来说,最能控制的就是我们选择养成和生活的习惯。

Here are four uncommon habits that will improve your mental health and resilience.
下面是四种不常见的习惯,但它们可以改善你的心理健康和适应能力。

Be curious about your own mind. 对自己的想法保持好奇心

Most people act on autopilot, especially when strong emotions are involved:
大多人都思维定式,尤其是情绪起伏比较大的时候:

You feel angry and immediately lash out — saying something sarcastic, slamming a door, or even just ruminating in your own mind about how terrible someone else is.
You feel anxious and immediately try to distract yourself with meaningless activities or you call a friend for reassurance.
You feel sad and immediately turn to alcohol or food to numb out the pain.
当你感到生气的时候,你会大声辱骂,说些讽刺的话,砸门或在心里暗暗记下别人的不好;
当你感到焦虑的时候,你会尝试通过活动来分散自己的注意力,或者给朋友打电话寻求安慰;
但你觉得难过的时候,你会喝酒或吃东西以缓解痛苦。

Not only does impulsiveness lead to bad decisions, but it prevents us from learning something new about ourselves.
冲动不仅会让你做出错误决定,还会妨碍你进一步地了解自己。

If you always resort to sarcasm anytime you feel angry, for example, your vision of what anger is and what it means is quite limited. It’s just a bad feeling that leads to saying cruel things.
例如,如果你总是在生气时说出讽刺的话,那么你对愤怒的理解就非常有限,只是因为不好的感觉而说出残酷的话。

On the other hand, if you cultivate the habit of observing your thoughts and feelings — especially the uncomfortable ones — you can begin to get curious about them.
另一方面,如果你养成了观察自己想法和感受的习惯,尤其是不舒服的想法,你会开始对它们好奇。

For example, if you took a minute to observe and get curious about your anger, you might realize that behind your anger is some fear — fear that people won’t love you for who you are, fear that you’ll be alone, maybe even fear of your anger itself. Which means that anger, and all the behaviors that come out of it, are merely a distraction from the real issue — your fear and insecurity.
例如,如果你花一分钟观察并对自己的愤怒感到好奇,你可能会意识到,愤怒背后是某种恐惧——担心别人不会爱真正的你,担心你会孤单,甚至怕自己会自己发火。这意味着,愤怒本身以及紧随愤怒而来的所有行为,仅仅是为了分散真正的问题——你的恐惧和不安全感。

But this kind of self-knowledge is only possible if you consistently pause and observe your own mind from a place of curiosity.
但像这样的自我了解,只有在你停下来并持续观察自己的想法时才有可能。

The next time you feel a strong emotion, hit the pause button. Then ask yourself: What’s going on in my mind right now?
下次当你情绪激动时,请按“暂停”键,然后问问自己此时此刻在想什么?

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space… In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
— Viktor Frankl
“在刺激与反应之间,存在一个空间……在这个空间里,是我们如何做出反应的机会。我们会如何回应,这里藏着我们的成长和自由。”——维克多·弗兰克(Viktor Frankl)

  1. Be compassionate with your suffering. 怜悯自己遭受的痛苦

A sure sign of mental health is that you are compassionate with yourself when times are hard — that you approach your mistakes and suffering in a gentle, rational way, without resorting to extremes.
心理健康的一个标志是,在艰难时刻也富有同情心。用温和,理性的方式来对待自己的错误和痛苦,不必过激反应。

In my experience as a psychologist, the one thing that unites virtually every one of my clients is that they lack the habit of self-compassion.
根据我作为心理学家的经验,实际上让我每个客户都团结起来的原因是——它们都缺乏自我怜悯的习惯。

Self-compassion means that in times of pain or suffering, you treat yourself like you would treat a good friend — in an empathetic, balanced, non-judgmental way.
自我怜悯意味着在自己遭受痛苦时,会像对待好朋友一样对待自己,用一种富有同理心、温和的、非评判性的方式。

Ironically, while most of us are quite good at being compassionate with other people, we’re terrible at being compassionate with ourselves:
讽刺的是,虽然我们大多数人都善于同情别人,却不会自我饶恕:

When you make a mistake, you immediately start criticizing yourself with negative self-talk and catastrophic predictions.
When you feel upset or afraid, you immediately criticize yourself for being weak and discount your pain as silly or trivial.
When you’re uncertain or confused, you compare yourself to others — as if shame will motivate you to figure things out.
当你犯错时,你会开始自责,并预测糟糕结果。
当你沮丧或恐惧时,你会因为自己太弱而自我批评,并将自己的痛苦看得太愚蠢或不重要。
当你感到不确定或困惑时,你会把自己和其他人比较-好像羞耻感会激励你把事情弄清楚。

In other words, your default response to mistakes and pain is to be hard on yourself. This is probably the result of a culture that insists that the only way to achieve success in life (and therefore happiness) is to be tough on yourself.
换句话说,你对犯错和痛苦的潜意识反应是自责。这可能是一种文化的结果,这种文化认为,想在生活中取得成功(从而获得幸福)的唯一方法就是对自己严苛。

The antidote to being hard on yourself is self-compassion.
缓解对自己严苛习惯的对策是自我怜悯。

Importantly, self-compassion doesn’t mean that you’re soft or spoiled, it just means taking a balanced view of your mistakes and failures:
重要的是,自我怜悯并不代表你是软弱或被宠坏的,而是表示该对自己犯错和失败保持温和:

Self-compassion means acknowledging your failures for what they are without dwelling on them.
Self-compassion means reminding yourself that you are more than the sum of your mistakes. Far more.
Self-compassion means acknowledging that just because you feel bad doesn’t mean you are bad.
自我怜悯意味着承认自己的失败而不限于失败。
自我怜悯意味着提醒自己,你不能只看到自己的错误本身,还有更多的东西等你发现。
自我怜悯意味着承认会犯错仅仅是因为你当时感觉不好,而不是你不行。

There’s no greater strength than the ability to be gentle with yourself.
没有比对自己温柔更大的力量了。

“The soft overcomes the hard.
The slow overcomes the fast.”
— Lao-tzu
“柔能克刚,慢即是快。”——老子

  1. Be flexible in your behavior. 行为保持灵活

A tell-tale sign of poor mental health is rigid behavior. But its opposite — flexibility — is the key to a stronger, more healthy emotional life.
不良心理健康的一个明显标志是行为僵化。但它反面——灵活性——却是实现更美好、更健康情感生活的关键。

There’s an old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time.
有一句老话,精神错乱的定义是一遍又一遍地做同样的事情,而每次都期望得到不同的结果。

While most of us probably don’t fit the legal criteria for insanity, it’s probably not hard to think back on a time when you were suffering emotionally and see the same pattern — getting stuck trying the same old things to feel better but only feeling worse.
虽然我们大多人都达不到精神错乱的法律标准,当你情感受苦时,也许不难想起类似的情况:为了感觉更好尝试相同的事情,结果却感觉更糟糕。

For example:
When you’re feeling depressed and down, it’s all too easy to isolate yourself and disengage from the world.
When you’re feeling guilty or ashamed, it’s tempting to replay your past mistakes over and over again in a cycle of rumination and self-criticism.
When you’re feeling anxious and afraid, it’s easy to lose yourself in a mindless distraction rather than facing up to your fears.
比如:
当你沮丧时,很容易将自己与世隔绝;
当你内疚或羞愧时,很容易一遍又一遍地回想自己的过去的错误并自我批评;
当你焦虑和恐惧时,很容易迷失自己而不专心面对恐惧。

In other words, we all tend to get stuck in habitual ways of responding to stress and painful emotions. We feel bad and our default behaviors kick in, often without much awareness.
换句话说,我们所有人都倾向于习惯性地应对压力和痛苦的情绪。我们经常在没有太多意识的情况下感到难受,并且我们的惯性会开始起作用。

But here’s the thing…
You can’t keep doing the same old thing and expect new results.
这就是……
你不能总是做同样的旧事但期待会有新的结果出现。

If every time you feel anxious, you start worrying — and then find that worrying only makes you more anxious — maybe it’s time to think about a new way of responding to anxiety?
If every time you feel sad, you start ruminating — and then find that ruminating only makes you feel worse about yourself — maybe it’s time to think about a new way of responding to sadness?
If every time you feel angry, you criticize other people — and then find that being critical only makes you feel worse about yourself in the long run—maybe it’s time to think about a new way of responding to your anger?
如果每次你焦虑,就开始担心-就会发现担心只会让你更加焦虑-也许是时候考虑以一个新姿态应对焦虑了?
如果每次你难过,就开始沉思-就会发现沉思只会让你对自己感到更糟糕-也许是时候考虑以一种新方法应对悲伤了?
如果每次你生气,你都会批评别人-就会发现长远来看,批评别人只会让你对自己感到更糟-也许是时候考虑以一种新方法应对愤怒?

Instead of defaulting to your same old strategies, try to be flexible in how you respond to difficulty:
与其使用惯用的旧策略,不如尝试灵活地应对困难:

Take a new perspective. Ask yourself: How would someone else look at this?
Experiment with new behaviors. Test out what happens when you bite your tongue instead of lashing out or call a friend instead of isolating yourself.
Study other people. Pay attention to how the people your admire respond to difficult situations and stress: What do they do differently and what might that look like for me?
换个角度。问问自己:别人对此会怎么看?
使用新行为。看看自己咬到舌头时,不骂人、不打电话向朋友哭诉、也不孤立自己时会发生什么?
向别人学习。注意你钦佩的人是如何应对困难和压力的:他们做的有何不同,如果是我这么做,会怎么样?

Be a scientist in your own life: observe what’s not working, formulate a new theory, test it out, and see how it works.
成为自己生活的科学家:不观察无效的事情,提出理论,测试验证,然后观察它们的工作原理。

You can think your way into almost any form of suffering, but it’s only through taking action that you’ll truly move on.
你可以认为自己陷入了各种形式的痛苦,但只有采取行动,你才能真正地继续前进。

“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”
― Philip Pullman
“你不能改变你是谁,但可以改变你做的事情。”——菲利普·普尔曼

  1. Be assertive about your values. 坚守自己的价值观

When we feel any kind of pain — including emotional pain — our attention gets drawn to finding the quickest possible way to alleviate that pain.
当我们感觉到任何形式的痛苦(包括情感上的痛苦)时,我们的注意力就会集中在寻找最快减轻痛苦的方式上。

For example: When your finger feels pain and you realize it’s resting on a hot frying pan, all your focus and energy go toward getting your hand off the hot pan. And for good reason — it would be dangerous and harmful to leave your hand on a hot stove!
例如:当你的手指感到疼并意识到它搁在热煎锅上时,你所有的注意力都集中在将手从热锅上移开。这是有充分理由的-将手放在火炉上既危险又有害!

But, while pain is often an indicator of danger, that it isn’t always. Emotional pain, no matter how severe, isn’t itself dangerous — no amount of sadness or anxiety, for example, can harm you.
但是,虽然疼痛通常是危险的指示,但并非总是如此。情绪上的痛苦,无论多么严重,本身都不会危险-例如,任何程度的悲伤或焦虑都不会伤害你。

But it’s easy to get confused here. It’s easy to treat all pain as an indication of danger. And when we do that, it means channeling all our attention and energy toward escaping that pain.
But there’s a cost to this instant pain avoidance strategy:
这里很容易感到困惑。将所有的痛苦都视为危险指示很容易,但当我们这样做时,就代表着我们会将所有注意力和精力都转移到避免痛苦上。

When you spend all your time running away from what you don’t want, there’s little time left for running toward what you do want.
当你将所有时间都花在远离不需要的东西上时,你就几乎没有时间去追求自己想要的东西。

If you suffer from chronic mental health issues or emotional struggles, you probably recognize this pattern of your life shrinking and narrowing as everything becomes about feeling less pain.
如果你患有慢性精神问题或在情绪上挣扎,那你可能会意识到,随着每件事都变得不那么痛苦,这种生活方式也在缩小。

And while this strategy of trying to outrun your pain makes sense on an intuitive level, it almost never works in the long-run. And in fact, it often makes things worse:
尽管从直觉上讲,尝试减轻痛苦的策略是有意义的,但从长远来看,它几乎是行不通的。实际上,这反而会让情况更糟:

Avoiding your grief by drowning it out with constant distraction only perpetuates it.
Avoiding your social anxiety by not going out as much only intensifies it.
Avoiding your goals because you’re afraid of failing only makes your self-esteem issues worse.
通过不断地分散精力来避免悲伤,只会让悲伤永存;
通过不出门来避免社交恐惧只会加剧焦虑;
因为害怕失败而避免制定目标只会恶化你的自尊心问题。

The cure to a life of chronic avoidance is assertiveness.
治愈慢性回避症的方法是自信。

Crafting the habit of assertiveness means learning to go after what you want with confidence and setting boundaries on what you don’t want with strength:
养成自信的习惯,代表着你要学会自信地去追求自己想要的东西,并为自己不想要的东西设置严格界限:

Asking for a nicer table at the restaurant even though you’re worried that the waiter might think badly of you.
Refusing to engage in hostile conversations with coworkers, even though it feels good to try and put them in their place.
Making the decision to leave your job and try a new career even though you’re scared.
即使你担心服务员可能会对你的评价不佳,也要让餐厅准备一张更好的餐桌。
即使你和同事站在同一战线感觉很好,也要拒绝参与同事的抱怨谈话。
即使你感到害怕,也要有辞职的决心并尝试新的职业。

In the end, the only way to genuinely and consistently feel better is to starting moving toward the things that matter most even if you don’t feel like it.
最后,唯一能够真正持续地感觉更好的方法是,即使不喜欢它,也朝着最重要的方向前进。

Let reason and values guide your decisions and trust that your feelings will follow in time.
让理性和价值观指导决策,并相信感受会及时跟进。

All you need to know
所有你需要知道的

Mental health isn’t determined by your genetics or as simple as thinking positive. Mental health is built and maintained through the cultivation of healthy, consistent habits:
心理健康不是由遗传决定,也不像“正念”那样简单。心理健康是通过养成健康一致的习惯来建立和保持的:

Be curious about your own mind.
Be compassionate with your suffering.
Be flexible in your behavior.
Be assertive about your values.
对自己的想法保持好奇心
怜悯自己遭受的痛苦
行为保持灵活
坚守自己的价值观