I recently enjoyed a 12 hour, 40 minute podcast and I’m here to share some of the gems! Psychiatrist Dr Paul Conti spoke with Professor Andrew Huberman across 4 sessions about a way of visualising, assessing and helping one’s own mental health. I’m writing an article on the series but in the meantime, my 3 stand outs;
To assess your mental health, look at your levels of agency and gratitude. How often and to what degree do you experience feelings of agency and gratitude? In Paul Conti’s model, 'you almost never see someone go wrong if they have these', and high levels of agency and gratitude are likely to lead to high levels of peace, contentment and delight. Paul spoke in great detail on the definitions of agency and gratitude, emphasising these words are used as verbs.
To be mentally healthier, develop your generative drive. Generative drive is when your actions are focused upon positive generation as opposed to being driven by envy, for example, which creates an aggressive drive. Generative questions you may ask of self in relation to something you are working on include, how can I best engage with this? How can I make it better? One of my favourite parts of the model is that it helps people understand where their level of generative drive is at and indicates what to focus on in order to improve one's generative drive.
We all have defense mechanisms. When you see a defense mechanism arise within yourself, check ‘is it a healthy defence that allows me to see things clearly without distortion’, or ‘is it an unhealthy defence that twists reality and has me acting in unhelpful ways’? A classic example of a defense mechanism is projection, putting your 'stuff' on someone else as if it is theirs. Defense mechanisms arise from the unconscious, and past trauma is a key source of unhelpful defenses. Paul says ‘everyone has trauma’ even if they are multiple small, impactful moments in life. Taking time for stillness, journalling, getting support will help us to clear up our thinking and actions so we can act in more generative ways.
These are 3 of my takeaways, the interviews inspired so many ideas, especially relating to my work with organisations so I'll be thinking about this for quite some time.
Thanks for reading!
Link to the show: https://www.hubermanlab.com/episode/guest-series-dr-paul-conti-how-to-understand-and-assess-your-mental-health