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The Untroubled Mind

Herbert J. Hall

Book Overview: 

A very wise physician has said that “every illness has two parts—what it is, and what the patient thinks about it.” What the patient thinks about it is often more important and more troublesome than the real disease. What the patient thinks of life, what life means to him is also of great importance and may be the bar that shuts out all real health and happiness. The following pages are devoted to certain ideals of life which I would like to give to my patients, the long-time patients who have especially fallen to my lot.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .edge, but which nevertheless is very real.

I am not satisfied when some moralist says, “Be good and you will be happy.” The kind of happiness that comes from a perfunctory goodness is a thing which I cannot understand, and which I certainly do not want. If I work and play and serve and employ, making up the fabric of a busy life, if I attain a very real happiness, I am tormented by the desire to know why I am doing it, and I am not satisfied with the answer I‌ usually get. The patient may not be cured when he is relieved of his anæmia, or when his emaciation has given place to the plumpness and suppleness and physical strength that we call health. The man whom we look upon as well, and who has never known physical illness, is not well in the larger sense until he knows why he is working, why he is living, why he is filling his life with activity. In spite of the elasticity and spring of the world’s interests, there must come often, and. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This was a quick read. Finished in half a day. Excellent advice and insight that is not added to a bunch of unnecessary opinion. The message is clear and simple. Helped me when I needed it.

Life changing! I’ve read this little book probably half a dozen times this year highlighting different passages each time. Writing down thoughts to remember throughout the day. I wish I would have found this book when I was younger, but it’s never too late to expand peace of mind!

I have it two stars because (might be a spoiler) I don’t agree with the idea that everything in life is ‘planned’ I believe that every action and decision we make, another one follows. There’s no such thing as ‘it was planned’ or ‘meant to happen’ we make our own choices and a series of events un...more

It's difficult to rate this in this Era as it was written in 1910. However I found it patriarchal and very Christian centric. He refers to people, with depression/anxiety I assume, as nervous invalids with anxious disposition. It's just difficult to hear. It wasn't particularly helpful to me. Bas...more

Hall's hypotheses cause you to think more deeply about what causes - and heals - those things that trouble the mind. It's an interesting alternative approach from traditional psychological and medicinal practices.

Herbert's suggestion is you have to put down the baseball bat and stop beating yourself up with your past. Then put your hands to work. You can not think yourself out of your troubled mind. Since uncontrolled thinking is what got you to that spot in the first place.

Like all good direction you ne...more

Simply, amazing and timeless in its philosophy and application of.

Written by a physician in 1915 who apparently treated many workaholics. He's correct that rest is needed for health and a fruitful life; he omits that a certain wealth is needed to create space for restoration, reflection, beauty, and creativity.

Notable quotes :
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"Every illness has...more

Interesting look at the spiritual aspect of well being from the lens of a physician. Nothing new or ground breaking, but a good recap of how "pretending to be happy" like many new age philosophies teach is just that "pretending".

The true way to joy is through our spiritual connection to God. Bein...more

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