What is more important- A Healthy Mind, or a Healthy Body?

Take a hypothetical situation. You’re walking down a road, hands in pockets. A turning comes up. You take it, and are immediately greeted by a huge building, with flashy signs and neon lights. On top of the gate, on a board, is written the words – “Brain Gym- Working towards a Healthy Mind”.

This is an unrealistic situation, isn’t it? The question before us is, why exactly is this unrealistic? Is it too much to expect the existence of a concrete institution which trains people to keep their minds fresh and healthy? The answer is, sadly, yes. The world, as it is, is obsessed with physical health, with a variety of gyms, diets, and lifestyles geared to that purpose. There is no discernible effort to develop “Brain Gyms”, which keep a person’s mind fresh and healthy – because there is no commercial value in such an effort. (One may argue that schools exist to accomplish this very purpose, but there is a difference between an “Educated Mind”, which schools aim at, and a “Healthy Mind”, which is a superset of the former. A Healthy mind can be said to include education, an optimistic approach to the trials and tribulations of life, a sense of morality, and a general feeling of satisfaction.)

Now it remains to be discussed the importance of a Healthy Mind. So why do we need a Healthy Mind? What benefits does it provide to us? Do we obtain anything useful from mental health? To answer the last question, yes. A person with a healthy mind has (as aforementioned) an optimistic outlook. This, on its own, ensures a few things – one, the person starts every day with a fresh mind, ready to challenge the challenges life throws at him/ her, and two, the person does not suffer from depression. The effect? A general feeling of satisfaction towards life; and the optimist exudes a positivity which induces in others’ minds optimism and happiness.

There lies the matter of a Healthy Body, or physical health. There is no doubt as to its importance, but physical health without mental health is like The Lord of the Rings trilogy without the Ring in it. A person lacking in physical health but endowed with a strong, healthy mind can exist at peace with himself/ herself(just like the ring in The Lord of the Rings also exists in The Hobbit); but a physically strong person whose mental health is frail suffers from the risk of depression or pessimism, or the absence of morality. This may be manifested in self-harm, thoughts of suicide, or a desire to cause harm to others. An example is in order. Say, you are very sick, bedridden. The clinical thermometer stuck to your tongue reads a hundred and two Fahrenheit. In this situation, what would you do? Bemoan your bad luck all day long and curse anything and everything that may or may not, directly or indirectly pertain to your present condition? Or would you rather snuggle comfortably in bed with a pillow, enjoying this unscheduled break from the monotony of your daily life, and plan for when you become better? The latter is an indication of an optimistic, Healthy mind (While it would be wrong to say that all persons of Healthy mind are optimistic, it is for certain that they aren’t pure pessimists. They may be opportunistic or realistic as well).

So the long and short of it is that mental health scores over physical health. A person possessing only mental health may be like a weak duck hiding from the bullets of the shotgun, but a one who has only physical strength is like a human being who exposes himself to those very bullets. Where is the athlete who wins a race, expecting to lose it? If Bilbo Baggins could steal from Ogres with the slight frame of his, it was because he possessed mental strength.

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