Webster’s Dictionary – health: the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor, vitality.
Psychiatric Dictionary – mental health: psychological well-being or adequate adjustment, particularly as such adjustment conforms to the community-accepted standards of human relations. Some characteristics of mental health are reasonable independence, self-reliance, self-direction, ability to do a job, to take responsibility and make needed efforts, reliability, cooperation, ability to work under authority, rules and difficulties, ability to show friendliness and love, to give and take, to have tolerance of others and of frustrations, a sense of humor, a devotion beyond oneself, and an ability to find recreation.
Freud - "In the final analysis, the stabilized personality is one that has achieved, through learning and maturation, a balance or equilibrium between “cathexes” and “anti-cathexes.” The nature of this balance, that is, whether it falls more on the side of fulfillment or more on the side of restraint or somewhere in the middle, is determined by the influences which are brought to bear on the developing personality. By and large, the presence of strong anti-cathexes will increase the tension level of the personality since the anti-cathexes prevent psychic energy from being dissipated. However, in spite of the existence of considerable tension the personality can be quite stable as long as an equilibrium of forces is maintained. Stability is also produced by the resolution of conflicts between opposing instinctual forces or their derivatives."
Broch (Pathwork “Guide”) – "Physical health and well-being is totally regulated by and dependent on the state of pleasure a human body is capable of allowing. Health and longevity are the results of the capacity for pleasure. Conversely, to the degree you deny yourself pleasure – due to shames, fears, misconceptions, negativity – to that degree you cut off your body from the wellspring of the universal flow. Any kind of physical illness or deterioration, therefore, also physical death, as it were, is a manifestation of division, conflict and denial of pleasure."
Candice Pert ("Molecules of Emotion") – "Health is not just a matter of thinking happy thoughts. Sometimes the biggest impetus to healing can come from jump-starting the immune system with a burst of long-suppressed anger. How and where it’s expressed is up to you – in a room by yourself, in a group therapy situation which can facilitate the expression of long-buried feelings, or in a spontaneous exchange with a family member or friend. The key is to express it and then let it go, so that it doesn’t fester, or build or escalate out of control.
Emotions are what unite the mind and the body. Anger, fear and sadness, the so-called negative emotions, are as healthy as peace, courage and joy. All honest emotions are healthy emotions. To repress these emotions and not let them flow freely is to set up a dis-integrity in the system, causing it to act at cross-purposes rather than as a unified whole. The stress this creates, which takes the form of blockages and insufficient flow of peptide signals to maintain function at the cellular level, is what sets up the weakened conditions that can lead to a disease."
John Pierrakos – "In the totally healthy organism, energy flowing into and out of the person could move freely as circumstances permit, in something of the way that a rose gives off perfume and takes in sunlight through its petals. Integration and creativity require freedom of movement from the innermost reaches of the unconscious to the outermost perimeters of consciousness. The uniqueness of each person comes from the form of his or her individuation from the universal life principle. The person’s fundamental identity, therefore, is shaped by the purposeful movement of the energy of the core.
Illness is a process, or rather an interruption of the life process, that penetrates the entire person because the flow of living energy in the organism is integral to the organism. Armoring anywhere affects the entire organism. Vital force cannot stop moving; thus, when it meets a barrier, it must circumvent this or back up in the opposite direction."
Jane Roberts (“Seth”) – “Your health is an extension of your creativity. Your body is an artistic creation, formed and constantly maintained at unconscious levels, but quite in line with your beliefs about what and who you are. The miraculous constant translation of spirit into flesh is carried on with inexhaustible energy by the inner portions of being, but in all cases the inner self looks to the conscious mind for its assessment of the body’s condition and reality, and forms the image in line with the conscious mind’s beliefs. So - once more - you form reality through your beliefs, and your most intimate production is your physical body. You organize on an unconscious level the atoms and molecules that compose your cells to form your body. But the blueprint is made by your conscious beliefs. You constantly give yourself suggestions about your body, your health or ill health. (For example, many individuals are given glasses to correct an eye difficulty at an early age. When you believe that only glasses will correct poor vision, then only glasses will. Left alone, in many cases, the eyes would correct themselves. The glasses can impede any such self-correction by providing a crutch that further weakens eye muscles. Instead, you must discover the reason for the belief behind the physical non-function, and if this is done the condition will automatically clear up. Now, for most people it is easier to get glasses!)
You think about your body often. You send a barrage of beliefs and instructions to the inner self that affect your physical image. To change your body, you change your beliefs, even in the face of physical data or evidence that conflicts. Now thoughts in general possess an electromagnetic reality, but whether you know it or not, they also have an inner sound value, the sound of your thoughts within your own head. Inner sounds have an even greater effect than exterior ones upon your body. They affect the atoms and molecules that compose your cells. In many respects it is true to say that you speak to your body, but the speaking is interior. The sound is formed by your intent. Suggestions, repeated often enough and believed in fervently, take on a deeply habitual nature. They are no longer examined, but taken for literal truth. They are then handed over to the more automatic levels of personality, where they may trigger specific actions. These suggestions may be remarkably long-standing, and consist of beliefs received in childhood.
You were not given a certain amount of “life force” at birth that you use up as you go along, contrary to many schools of thought. The atoms and molecules within you are quite literally dying and being completely replaced all the time. You are being created physically in each instant. A sick body is performing that function then, in its way, as well as healthy one. [The body] is a mirror of [your] beliefs, and will accurately materialize in flesh those ideas held by the conscious mind. That is one of the body’s primary functions. It is your most intimate feedback system, giving you in flesh the physical counterpart of your thought. So it is futile to become angry at a symptom, or to deride the body for its condition when it is presenting you with the corporeal replica of your own thought, as it was meant to do. It is just as useless to berate your environment or your experience in it as it is to deride your body, for the same reasons.
Your ideas of good and evil as applied to health and illness are highly important, for instance. If you are bound and determined that “GOD” creates only “good”, then any physical deficiency, illness or deformity becomes an affront to your belief, threatens it, and makes you angry and resentful. If you become ill you can hate yourself for not being what you think you should be - a perfect physical image made in the likeness of a perfect God. If on the other hand you carry the idea too far that illness can also be a learning process, then you can fall into the other extreme, glorifying sickness or disease as a necessary ennobling experience in which the body is purged so that the soul can be saved. Following such a belief, you will confuse suffering with saintliness, desolation with purity. Under such conditions you can even seek out illness to prove to yourself the strength of your own spirituality - and to impress it upon others.
There are people who firmly believe that the pursuit of pleasure will lead to pain, and others whose beliefs cause them to feel very uncomfortable when they are in states of health. For these individuals, poor health brings a sense of security and safety. Some individuals become anxious and worried if they think they are too happy, for to them it means that they are not paying sufficiently for their sins. Quite ordinary people often believe that suffering itself is a way toward personal development and spiritual knowledge. In matters of health, such beliefs can have most unfortunate results.
Another attitude detrimental to good health is that of self-condemnation, or dislike of the self. A feeling of self-approval is absolutely necessary for any true sense of well-being. It is not virtuous in any way to put yourself down, or to punish yourself, because you do not feel you have lived up to your best behavior at any given time. All creatures are basically of good intent; even when they commit the most dubious of acts, these are usually caused by misdirected good intent.
Worrying about future events, or dwelling upon past unfavorable situations, only confuses the body’s mechanisms because the physical body can only react in the present moment. [Also], while it may seem natural enough to consider disease as a threat, an adversary or an enemy, this is not the case. Many body events that you think of as negative – certain viruses, for example – are instead meant as self-corrective devices, even as fever actually promotes health rather than impedes it. You are not attacked by viruses, nor do you catch a virus, for all kinds of viruses exist normally in the body. There are no killer viruses, but certain feelings and beliefs can promote an exaggeration of viral activity beyond their usual bounds.
There is no such thing, basically, as a disease. There are instead only processes. So-called states of health and disease are changing constantly, and in vaster terms, disease in itself is a kind of health. Diseases can be eliminated, even those that seem fatal – but only if the beliefs behind them are erased or altered enough so that their specific focusing effect upon the body is sufficiently released. If you shed the distorted concepts of unnatural guilt and accepted the wise ancient wisdom of natural guilt instead. You would understand the living integrity of each organ in your body and have no need to attack any of them.
This obviously does not mean that the time of the body’s death would not come. It does mean that the seasons of the body would be understood as following those of the mind, ever-changing and flowing, with conditions coming and going but always maintaining the splendid unity within the body’s form. You would not have chronic illnesses. Generally speaking, and ideally, the body would wear out gradually while still showing far greater endurance than it does now.
For adults, ideas of health and illness are intimately connected with philosophical, religious and social beliefs, and even more entangled with science’s views of life in general. Children, however, are far more innocent, and though they respond to the ideas of their parents, still their minds are open and filled with curiosity, and they still possess a feeling of oneness with the universe, and with all of life, even as they begin to separate themselves at certain levels from life’s wholeness. Seeing themselves as separate and apart from other individuals, they still retain an inner comprehension and a memory of having once experienced a oneness with life as a whole. At that level, even illness is regarded as simply a part of life’s experience, however unpleasant it may be. Children pick up their first ideas about health and disease from parents and doctors, and by the reactions of those people to their own discomfort.
Children may be quite conscious of the fact that they will themselves to become ill (i.e. - in order to avoid school or a family event). They soon learn that such self-knowledge is not acceptable, however, so they begin to pretend ignorance, quickly learning to tell themselves instead that they have a bug or a virus, or have caught a cold, seemingly for no reason at all. Parents who are aware of this fact can start helping their children at an early age by asking them simply the reasons for their illness. Again, the reasons for such behavior are often quite clear in the child’s mind."