Understanding our own garden that we call mind

mind 2020

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Marcelo Costa Martins Moura, a third-year Brazilian medical student. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Since when we’re born, we’re encouraged to study hard to go to a good college, work to achieve our goals and rise inside the current social conjucture. We’re so focused in those targets that we forget how we are being consumed by a system that convinces us that we are not being happy unless we do what society want us to do. We are so used to have a routine and do what we need to do for our society that we enter into an automatic mode, with no time to think about ourselves and the possibility of burnouts and mental exaustion. For example, on average,10% of the EU+ workforce feels burned-out against 17% of the non-EU countries, according to Prof. dr. Wilmar Schaufeli.

Karl Marx in one of his works claims that “a happy society grants free time to their citizens”, but the fact is that people in general don’t have time left to think about theirselves, their choices or if they are living like they want to, and when that time exists, we don’t know what to do with it, shattering our mental health away. Besides that, people are usually focused on the material world, making the product they get as something that gives a value to them and convinces themselves that they need these products to achieve hapiness, as in an eternal cycle fostered by the social relationships. However, everyhting breaks when they’re forced to stop their source of obtaining material means.

People get lost.

So what we can say is that in a few weeks, something changed this routine: a nonliving extremely complex molecule starts to flow in the world and forces everybody to go into their houses without the possibility to get out, and than the entire mechanical cycle breaks. That’s when we get lost on who we are and what we really need.

Leonardo Boff, a philosopher and brazilian writer, said that “Hapiness: is not running after the butterflies, but taking care of the garden to attract them”. In that way, we need to think about ourselves first before we run after what we think we want, and finally good things will come to us naturally. Of course, as we are social beings, we need to break this temporary social distance with the internet and all the resources it offers, but we also need and have time to ourselves these days.

We need to take care of our own garden. We need to think about our own choices, desires, wishes, dreams. We need to stop sometimes and read a good boook, listen a good music, make something that makes us feel good. We need to rediscover ourselves these days to improve our mental health. This way, the butterflies will come to us without mental exhaustion, and maybe hapiness and well-being will finally fit inside our home that we call mind.

References 

  1. Schaufeli, W.B. (2018). Burnout in Europe: Relations with national economy, governance, and culture. Research Unit Occupational & Organizational Psychology and Professional Learning (internal report). KU Leuven: Belgium.
  1. BETTO, Frei; BOFF, Leonardo; CORTELLA, Mario Sergio. Felicidade foi-se embora?. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes Nobilis, 2016. 130 p. ISBN 9788532651839.

About the author

Marcelo Costa Martins Moura is a third-year Brazilian medical student. He is affiliated and works in the National Team of Medical Education in the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA Brazil) and a member of the Standing Committee on Medical Education (SCOME), and the actual Local President of the FACID committee affiliated to IFMSA Brazil.

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