Quantity vs Quality - Which is Better for Mental Health?

Jordan Brown

It's hardly ever the first thought that is the best one.

It's rarely the first action that changes it all.

It takes persistence.

And tenacity.

Because it's so tempting to think you should just have it all figured out.

That your emotions should be a perfectly straight line and stay that way for eternity.

But it's not the way it works in the real world.

Mental health is more than what's on the surface.

It's a numbers game.

Read to the end to learn what I mean.

Quantity vs Quality - A Better Way to Think About Your Mental Health

What do you think is better?

Doing something once and moving on, or taking an action repeatedly until you master it?

We live in a world that expects perfection with minimal cost.

We exist in a society that expects the sun and the moon to come to us.

But is that how it really works?

The first action you take is not the best one.

Everyone has to start somewhere, even the best speakers and teachers, athletes and coaches.

Learning to ride a bike requires several tries before the balance is there.

Speaking another language is only possible after fumbling over countless words.

Skill development takes time.

And the same is true for mental health.

Here's another question.

Are you expecting more for less from your mental health than you are from your physical health?

Let me rephrase that.

Are you expecting more stability and more strength from your emotions and thoughts without putting in the work?

Your body is a tangible thing.

When you lift weights for two months, you see the results.

With mental health, it doesn't work that way.

You can put in hours and hours of work on your mindset, repeating positive affirmations to yourself until the cows come home, and still not notice the fruits of your labor.

So it's tempting to assume that nothing is happening.

But that's not the case.

The more effort you put into your mental health, the more you learn.

Every conversation, every new way of thinking, every different idea--they all add up.

It's not just one thing.

It's a cumulative effect.

Just like reading gets easier and productive the more knowledge you have in your head, your mental health becomes more varied and resilient the more good thoughts and feelings you internalize.

Take some time to think about your expectations of your own mental health.

Think about if you're expecting too much in too little time.

Consider if you are making unfair comparisons between your mental health and your physical health.

Would you expect to be a sprinting champion without first building up your leg strength?

Mental health, like physical health, is about repetition.

It's about building up a foundation over time.

You can hope for something all you want.

But it's only by building layers of feelings and thoughts into stronger, more adaptable mental models that you find the strength in who you are.

So don't get concerned if you're not where you want to be yet.

Focus on the numbers, and build up your total.

It's quantity over quality.

There's power and insight in the cumulative.