Mental Health and Wellbeing Matters: stop looking for the bad stuff

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For our mental health chat this time around, a few words on searching out the good things – because the bad things don’t tend to need any help at all.

Hello! This is our weekly spot on our website where we chat about mental health, wellbeing, and things that may be affecting you or people around you. No miracle cures are offered, but we’re here every week, and have been for a few years now. Hopefully there’s something across our archive that might be of some use to you.

This time? Well, I’m at a point in life where things are turning a little. I think the number of friends you have dwindles over time, occasionally replenished, but the people you can count on doesn’t tend to be a very long list. I also see that contemporaries of mine are beginning to struggle with their health a little, sometimes brought on by lifestyle choices, sometimes sheer bad luck. Add in the fact that the world around doesn’t seem to be the happiest of places, and the reasons to be gloomy can have a habit of outweighing the reasons to be cheerful.

But increasingly, I’d trying to turn this on its head a little.

I’ve been a growing advocate over the years – and I’ve touched on it a few times in these pieces – in not giving the crap stuff in life a helping hand. There have been days when I’m feeling low, where I have a temptation to dig towards the darker stuff, or to look at who hates me this week, or to persuade myself that I’m rubbish at everything.

Yet the other thing I’ve learned is that that’s the stuff that finds me anyway. That’s the stuff that doesn’t require any work or extra encouragement from me. Crap has a habit of navigating whatever path it needs for you to find it.

My onus – assuming I have the energy and sleep levels to be able to do this – is on the other stuff. Because I passionately believe that you have to work to find the good stuff. Sure, some good stuff will make it through the filters of life, but we’ve all got a finite amount of energy, and a finite amount of things we can chase. I don’t see the point – appreciating that sometimes, our heads don’t give us the choice – in trying to find the stuff that’s rubbish, or hurtful, or horrible.

Instead, if there’s a list of things you’ve always wanted to try and do, seek out something on there. If it’s a huge thing on that list, then break it into something small, and start to chip away at it. Find something fun. Chase something that makes you feel good. Seek out the joys, and not the rubbish stuff.

It’s simple, two-dimensional stuff, but it’s working more often than not for me at the moment and I hope it does so for you. Most importantly, I hope you stay safe and well. Thanks for reading, and this column, as always, will return next week.

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