5 Steps to a Healthier Mind – Getting to the Root Cause

Note: This post is written by Martin Hrnjak

“Painkillers might ease symptoms temporarily, but unless treated from the core the problem will keep returning.”

How often in life do we hide from whatever is bothering us?

Maybe we are irritated all the time and respond badly to people asking us questions, maybe we are constantly in despair and don’t understand why dates never seem to work out, maybe we have a hard time finding a job; and instead of addressing the problem and facing the discomfort of looking at it in the eyes – we run, and hide.

Shopping, partying, spending money we don’t have, lashing out at others, eating too much or too little – these are all forms of numbing the pain of whatever is currently bothering us. These ‘coping methods’ exist because they help offer temporary relief to a much deeper problem, a problem which most of us don’t recognize, and are afraid to identify because it means we would need to face reality.

This chronic situation of hiding from our “demons” has become so widespread in society that many people fall into serious slumps because of it. Never has there been an easier time to hide from our problems than the 21st century; the advent of technology and especially the internet means we are always plugged in and never allowing ourselves to reflect on what are the things which bother us.

I am willing to wager that some of you reading this dread going to bed before you’re about to pass out, simply because being alone with your own thoughts is too frightening a proposition. That creates a vicious cycle of not enough sleep, not enough alone time, not enough time unplugged and no time to reflect.

If you find yourself in a situation akin to the above, then perhaps it is time to take a step back and start peeling away the layers under which you have hidden the root cause of your problems.

Luckily there exist several steps which you can take, in order to:

  • Determine WHAT is happening
  • Determine WHY it is happening
  • Find out HOW to prevent it from happening again

The method for doing this is by using the RCA (Root Cause Analysis) tool. This is a method used by professionals worldwide to improve their businesses and has been proven time and time again to be successful in doing so. RCA has also been adapted and can be applied to individuals – offering a very simple and effective way of getting to the bottom of things and becoming self-aware.

The five steps are as follows:

  1. Define the problem.
    What is happening? What are your ‘symptoms’?
    Asking a close friend or family member can help you answer these questions. Symptoms can include: partying to hide from your problems, eating too much, etc.
  2. Analyze the situation.
    How long has your problem existed? What is the impact on your life and those around you?
    You need to have a full understanding of these things before you can find factors contributing to the problem – again, friends and family can be extremely helpful.
  3. Identify contributing factors.
    What events lead to the problem surfacing? What are problems which surround the central problem?
    Such as: before I start binge eating, I read about other people’s successes on social media.
  4. Identify the root.
    Why do the contributing factors exist? What is the REAL reason for my problem?
    Continuing from the example in step 3: I have low self-esteem and seeing people being successful makes me even more insecure. Self-esteem could be identified as the root problem in this case.
  5. Find and implement solutions to the root problem.
    What can you do to prevent the problem from returning? How will you implement this?
    Perhaps you have low self-esteem because you are overweight, and you enforce this by binge eating; begin watching your diet, spending less time on social media, and beginning an exercise regimen.
    You will hire a personal trainer, or ask a fitness-buff friend to make sure you stick to this until your problem is solved.

Above I used a fitness example, but this process can be applied to just about any issue you are facing – and is always worth a shot (the only thing you lose is a few minutes of time, and you stand to gain a lot more).

You will find that the more you know about yourself and why you behave the way you do, the calmer and happier person you will be. Budgeting time will become easier, forming healthy habits will become a breeze, you will be less irritable and in general, you will see your quality of life improve.

I recommend these steps to anybody, and hope I helped at least some of you reading this.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

– About the Writer –

My name is Martin Hrnjak, I am a marketing executive in a small company, and in my free time I am a fitness instructor. It is a passion of mine to spread my knowledge and help those around me – and to learn all I can on my journey of self-improvement.

– Related Resources –


  1. I was popping adderall everyday for the past 8 years until about a year ago, and I am so much healthier now. It is hard to try to get to the root of problems rather than just looking for ways to escape. Clearing my mind of the booze and medications helped me gain some clarity and regain my life. Good list on how to analyze what is really going on – sometimes you just need to drop everything else first to get the right perspective.

  2. Very helpful to be sure! Your approach is really solution-oriented. However, there is one more way to have a healthy and productive mind, and that lies in witnessing. Take some time to witnessing your mind (thought process), that means to be able to watch the stream of the mind very naturally, while not being exasperated or occupied. Doing in repeatedly will bring a peaceful state of mind. It will make you strong enough to fight with any kind of situation. It brings a person into the present and creates more awareness. The more you witness, the more you become stronger. In this manner, make it a permanent habit of witnessing of your mind naturally. Thanks for your wonderful advice!

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