Mental Health: What is Good Life?

Using research from the Mental Health Organization, an article by a professor of philosophy at University Dublin, Hallie Smith with the education of a Master’s degree, and a health and lifestyle writer, Markham Heid, this essay will showcase the key factors to life. These include relaxation, exercising, and use of idle time.

The key to happiness and good life has been disputed among many contemporary and past philosophers to search for a finding of these factors. This essay answered this research question: What factors play an important role in the philosophy of a good life? By exploring the factors of gratitude, exercising, and the use of idle time, this essay highlighted and proved that it has a strong impact on emotional and physical health, as well as maintaining happiness in life. Gratitude, for example, allows the brain to release ‘happy chemicals’ that are used to make one feel positive. Exercising, similarly, produces these chemicals that relieve stress and the worrisome of life. Lastly, the use of idle time fuels creativity and improves one’s mental intricacies. The inducement of happiness derived from these factors has been addressed throughout the essay coupled with research such as from experts and professors. Naturally, this essay acknowledges only a myriad of possible interpretations of ways of life, which may challenge the points raised within this essay.

The philosophy of a good life has been challenged by many individuals and philosophers. From Plato to Aristotle, many theories of life such as the moral life where your moral values present as an important factor of happiness in your life,  pleasure life where your pleasure is what makes life worth living, or the meaningful life that argues that to have a good life one has to make their life’s worthy of existence. This essay seeks to universalize the idea of a good life and challenge the theories offered by many Greek philosophers of a good life. For instance, Socrates’ idea of the moral life, Epicurus’ idea of the life of pleasure, and the theory of a meaningful life.   

What factors play in the philosophy of a good life? To explore and answer this theory, this essay will examine the three components to a good life. These include relaxation, exercising, and use of idle time. Using research from the Mental Health Organization, an article by a professor of philosophy at University Dublin, Hallie Smith with the education of a Master’s degree, and a health and lifestyle writer, Markham Heid, this essay will showcase the key factors to life. To further explore these key ideas, this composition will also highlight how these components contribute to your emotional and physical health, and how that will play in the overall happiness in your life. This research question is worthy of research because it is an endearing question that is present throughout ancient Greek history to modern society today. A philosophy of life allows us to guide ourselves to a good life, rather than aimlessly walk through life.In our busy, daily lives we often have instances where we forget about our possessions or thoughts that are important. These happenings occur because of our packed schedules and events that cause us to take away our own time. Often, our work is the basis of our life, as it is the structure that is providing you the necessities for living. This idea is integrated into our modern society and has created a culture where your work dominates a good portion of your lifespan, and where your idle time or free time has been reduced. Hence, a work-centered life restricts your freedom, and while allowing time to idle and not working  “help develop mental processes[,]storage and retrieval”(Heid, “Why Your Brain Needs Idle Time). 

Allowing our thoughts to be free and our creativity to be fueled, downtime is more beneficial than it seems. The ideas that idle time is a waste of productivity and a product of laziness are now manufactured in our fast-paced society; however, idle time is a way to give freedom to your body and it is a self-meditation technique, where it inspires you and allows you find the inner peace within yourself. It is where our minds and body relieve the internal stress and worry of our modern work and the time for our mental intricacies to be enhanced. Therefore, allowing more idle time to be in our lives, relieves more of our liberation to stress and adversity that relentlessly concede in our modern society. 

One of the most unparalleled emotions that humans possess is gratitude. It is the emotion that portrays your moral values and reflects an individual’s character. With gratitude, one can be open-minded towards life and induce happiness and an individual’s healthiness in life. As evident as exercising is beneficial to your health, being grateful has shown to be also instrumental. According to Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., being able to be grateful is beneficial with regards to “health, happiness, satisfaction with life, and the way we relate” to other people that we coexist with (“How Gratitude leads to A Happier Life”).  With the ability to indicate thankfulness for and to return graciousness, individuals display their kindness, caring, and respect for the world around them. Not only does enacting gratitude impact the ones around an individual, but also, in return, benefit the individuals that act upon it. 

For instance, our brain reacts to gratitude as a positive sign, therefore, we produce good feelings related to how exercising releases endorphins to dull the pain of working out; however, being grateful does not take excessive strength to carry out those happy chemicals, but rather, according to Kaia Roman, author of The Joy Plan, your “optimistic thoughts calm and soothe the amygdala” which is the part of the brain that signals stress (“So This Is Why Gratitude Makes Us Happier”). Optimism is also a crucial benefit from gratitude, it allows individuals to see the world in a different perspective, which helps one realize that sometimes our troubles and worries may not be as significant as the problems that other people in the world are facing. Gratitude inspires positive feelings, such as happiness, life, and fulfillment, which some studies display that it can trump out the pessimistic feelings that an individual might pertain to. By apprehending gratitude, individuals are able to turn our brains in a more optimistic mode, which in return, atones our brain’s proneness to concentrate on menaces, stress, and the nullifying parts of living (Greenberg, “How Gratitude Leads to A Happier Life”). Hence, life becomes fulfilling and the desire to want slowly diminishes as gratitude becomes more normalized. 

According to Melissa Chu, a writer for the Medium, asserts, “Those who were less grateful were more stressed, anxious, and depressed” (Why Gratitude Makes You Happier, Healthier, and More Popular”). Incoherence, the more grateful one is in life, the happier one will become.  For these reasons, gratitude is also integrated with many religions, such as Islam and Christianity, which enforces followers of the religion to have moral values that could help them be successful in life. Being able to have gratitude is also a moral that is well valued in today’s society. It reveals much of an individual’s nature; as a caring and humble character. Expressing and enveloping thoughts of gratitude not only can build a fine personality of an individual, but it can also as well create a more positive spin on a latter situation that allows the individual to deliberate into the optimistic side of life. Therefore, by being grateful, individuals are even able to appreciate the things that make the littlest impact of their life. 


  1. Chu, Melissa. “Gratitude Makes You Happier, Healthier, and More Popular.” Ladders, Ladders, 2 Oct. 2019,
  2. Greenberg, Melanie. “How Gratitude Leads to a Happier Life.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 22 Nov. 2015,

Heid, Markham. “Why Your Brain Needs Idle Time.” Medium, Elemental, 6 May 2019,


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