Towards a healthy mind and a fulfilled life by Femi Onakanren

Healthy mind and fulfilled life By Femi Onakanren

By Femi Onakanren

An advisory for young adults in the final phase of academics (as well as other folks)

An often under-rated measure of total well being is mental healthiness. We often assess people by the vibes they put across not realising these are the masks they wear to get through daily worries.

Inside, many are anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, confused, depressed and generally in a state of disrepair. Many are bleeding inside.

This is not helped by the kind of foundation our society has provided. People are afraid to speak up for fear of being called weak or being ostracized. We are deliberately dehumanizing real issues and further driving people into close, mental caves.

Whenever a human being is going through a significant life phase, the pressures become even more. Uncertainty, fear of failure, inadequacies, personal and social limitations etc. begin to weigh rather heavily on the consciousness of the individuals.

All these pressures increase mental stress and strain. When combined with social and economic challenges, a full blown melt down becomes almost inevitable.

Perhaps, this is best captured in the alarming increase and casual use of hallucinogens and drugs by the current generation. It appears escape from reality has become a viable option for sanity (quite ironic) for a lot of young people.

As stated earlier, key stages in life also have significant effects and pressures of their own. This is no different for students entering or concluding their final years as undergraduates and looking forward, with a mixture of trepidation and excitement, to the future.

There are several unresolved issues like career option, chasing your dreams, surviving and paying bills, social and cultural expectations (for ladies marriage become a bigger issue once school is concluded, a burden placed by society and biology) etc.

All the above just increases the mental imbalance within the individual and group of individuals causing unseen mental hardships which sometimes spill over to physical reactions.

So, how does one go through the different phases of life with a healthy state of mind? Below are a few suggestions the reader may find beneficial.

Get a good spiritual balance. The religion is immaterial but there is a void that commitment to a higher cause and belief fills. Simple acts of prayer, reading the holy books or listening to inspiring, godly messages have been known to provide catharsis.

Surround yourself with people with similar life goals and focus (mentors, companions, fellow aspirants of like mind). The fountain of youth can be satisfying but it is not a place for protracted lingering. Basically, we have to grow up. The company you keep should have more value than enjoyment and fun; there’s a lot more to life. Hang out with people who are also looking to make something productive out of their lives and careers. Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, you’d help each other fill the spaces and questions.

Live for purpose, not for pleasure. One of the tricks of youth is the delusional of time. It always seems like you have a lot of time. This is not true. Time is a limited and scarce commodity. Most young people want to ‘enjoy’ their youth. There’s nothing wrong with this but every action has an equal and opposite reaction. An unspoken rule of life in the above is that the scale of measuring ‘equal’ is rather flexible; it is rarely linear or directly proportionate. Thus, young people should find a purpose, beyond pleasure to live for. In the midst of the discovering purpose, they will find pleasures and fulfillment. Incidentally, this course will also help them to better appreciate that most of what they count as pleasures are nothing but transient, temporary vanities.

Get a hobby. Physical activities have been know to be relaxing. Either it is through the physical exertion of sporting activities or the quiet contemplation of more meditative acts, the mind will find calmness and focus.

Read widely and unrestrictedly about jobs and activities that interests you. Not everyone will thrive through orthodox professional careers, we are all made uniquely. Explore and task yourself to improve in personal development and knowledge acquisition.

Avoid unnecessary hassles and engagements. As much as one will like to complain and rant, these rarely does nor helps to achieve anything reasonable. Avoid conflicts. Avoid picking up fights that are unproductive. Avoid conversations that add little value, however fun they may be. A little leaven it is said leavens the whole lump.

Keep family close. One of the things that gives a sense of balance is reassurance that family provides. A sense of ‘home’ is a powerful anchor in a world where we all too often feel alone and on our own. Belonging somewhere is very reassuring and life affirming.

Above all, try to keep a positive mindset. The universe responds to the energies we push to it. Though it may be rough, the dance of sunrise and sunset assures us daily that everything is a phase. One should not create a permanent problem whilst trying to solve a temporary condition.


I hope we can all find peace and fulfillment as we continue in our journey through life.

This article is intended primarily for young adults taking the next step from entering their final years to graduation from the schools. However, the above nuggets are also useful for anyone going through a transitional process in life or who wishes to find peace amidst all the chaos.

There will be ups and downs. That is a sure guarantee in life. We will lose, we will get hurt, we will feel overwhelmed, we will be elated… That is just the drama of life. To enjoy the best of life however, we need to be in the best mental state. As the good book said, what shall it profit a man of he gains the world and loses his soul?

Our mental health is as important as our physical a.d spiritual well being. Thus, we should ensure we feed and cultivate it to its optimum capacity. A healthy mind makes for a healthy and fulfilled life.

Femi Onakanren is a business development specialist. He writes from Lagos