Mental Health Self-Care Virtues: Even-Mood
Even-mood: Harmonious and balanced thought and action; tranquility, calm, serenity
One of the Vanic Virtues, Even-Mood struck me as being the most obvious self-care virtue. Tranquility and serenity tend to get more of an emphasis in Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism and Hinduism- indeed many practices such as meditation can be useful in dealing with mood disorders. We also find similar ideas in Greek Stoic philosophy. We think of Celtic and Germanic peoples as mostly valuing passion, might and anger in battle, but they understood the wisdom of keeping a cool temper.
I have seen analogs to Even-mood in other lists of virtues.
- Moderation (ADF) a very broad virtue applied in this case to emotional balance
- Foruste (Irish)- Forusta (modern ‘forasta’). “Well-grounded, sedate, composed”. The noun is ‘forus’ (modern ‘foras’) which originally means “established base”. The idea is “calm, composed” — also “sensible”
- Steadfastness (as discussed by Swain Wodening here) seems more about being steady in ones beliefs/principles, which is not what I’m talking about. Still keeping steady in ones typical beliefs, versus changing them frequently could be a sign of good mental health (so long as those beliefs are healthy!)
- Gratitude- I haven’t seen this specifically on any virtue lists, though it was one of the “Wiccan Graces” suggested by Dianne Sylvan. (This is one book on Wicca I do find very useful and insightful to non-Wiccan Pagans) I have found for myself cultivating a sense of gratitude gives me a sense of tranquility when I am feeling frustrated with other aspects of my life, I focus on the parts of my life I am grateful for.
Practices for Cultivating Even-Mood:
Serenity Prayer– originally by theologian Reinhold Neibuhr and popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous
God(s), grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
This simple prayer is easily adapted to address any deity/deities you prefer, plus it has bonus virtues! There is a longer version that is more specifically Christian in theology which may be harder to adapt for polytheist uses.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
I like these next couple lines, but I’m unsure about the “accepting hardship” part, because it could be used by some to justify a “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, “everything happens for a reason” type philosophy that I think is unhelpful and unhealthy. However it can also just be a simple acceptance that life is hard sometimes, your mileage may vary.
Practice 2: Gratitude Exercises
These are examples of psychological exercises you can do to contemplate gratitude. Just be careful to not use this to convince yourself to be “grateful” for things like “love” from abusive family members (and “help” from them that comes with unfair strings attached!) Be grateful for things that are genuinely helping you! There are loads of gratitude articles online, these are just a couple that popped up, written by a psychologist.
10 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude, 10 Ways to Practice Gratitude I noticed the second article mentioned “3 blessings” exercise, this reminds me a lot of Irish triads! See if you can find some positive proverbs and sayings you can recite to yourself, your God(s) or supportive friends/family members. Or write them down and hang them on your wall, or put them on a screensaver on your computer.
Practice 3: Physical Activity
Physical exercise is great for mental health, just going for a walk, bike ride etc. Keep it modest and simple at first! Of course different people have different physical abilities, issues of pain, mobility so what activity you can choose may be limited. I also recommend yoga, tai chi, and some types of martial arts also can help with managing one’s emotions (though please make sure extreme mood issues are under control first!)
Caelesti’s Note: this is part of a series discussing Celtic/Germanic virtues (and possibly other cultures if I get to them) for people who are trying to manage mental health issues, it may also be helpful for those dealing with addiction and chronic health conditions and disabilities in general. I am not a mental health professional, nothing here should be taken as medical advice. It is beyond the scope of these posts to do in-depth research about What is Truly and Authentically Attested in the Lore, I am mostly interested in what is useful in promoting self-care, and in general seems in keeping with Celtic/Germanic cultural worldviews.
Entry filed under: Autism/Asperger's, Celtic/Druid, Celtic/Druid Virtues, Ethics, Self-Care Virtues, Vanic Virtues, Wiccan Virtues/Graces. Tags: anglo-saxon virtues, Celtic virtues, courage, Dianne Sylvan, Ethics, even-mood, gratitude, mental health, mental illness, moderation, self-acceptance, self-care, serenity, serenity prayer, Swain Wodening, tranquility, Vanatru, Vanic Virtues, Wiccan graces, wisdom.