Mental health is finally a topic of conversation. Yes, it's still taboo to discuss in many circles. But more and more, people are talking about mental health. With the slow lifting of the taboo, a more reasonable view of mental health issues is forming in the average person's mind.
But the city does present some other unique challenges to our health and sanity. How often, for example, when walking down a busy city street, do you hear someone else venting loudly on their cell phone? Is it really healthy to be surrounded by others' stress? Or what about the wailing of sirens? Or the sound of airplanes overhead?
We are Homo Sapiens, a (somewhat) hairless ape, and we've been 'anatomically modern' for about 200,000 years. Our ancestors had to rely on their innate biology to survive. When it was cold in the winter they had huts, open fires, and animal furs to keep warm. They didn't have climate control that would keep them in the same temperature 365 days per year. This is comfort is now causing health problems.
You might not expect to find much wisdom in the obsessed world of college basketball. Many of us think of false machismo, and even a propensity to cheat and put aside long-term health. The pursuit of victory trumps everything, or so we imagine. But former UCLA Coach John Wooden is the source of some of the most remarkable insights. He even practiced an almost Buddhistic non-attachment. Of course, he loved to win and wanted to win. But Wooden created a unique definition for winning. And he remained loyal to it even under the immense pressure of his job.
As anyone who floats, meditates, or practices yoga knows, our perception apparatus is imperfect. While it seems like we directly perceive reality, the truth is that we have second-hand perception (at best). This allows room for much error.
There is objective truth. But we only see tiny slices of it. Then we layer on complexities like our personal story and our emotions. Our initial limitations combined with the complexity we add means that our sense-making systems often fail to provide accurate pictures of reality.
Intuition is a powerful force of the human mind. And lately intuition-as-desirable-mental-state is having a moment. Books like Blink by Malcolm Gladwell have popularized the idea. You don't have to look far to see people espousing the value of intuition. But, as with many popularized ideas, there are misconceptions.
For a long time, a rationalist model of the mind prevailed. We believed that, given the choice, humans would act with rational self-interest. Today, it's understood that this isn't the case. We don't always or even usually act rationally. And we often self-sabotage our judgements using oversimplified heuristics that fail us.