Got to love those Princes these last couple of weeks. The potential King of England says, “no more stiff upper lip at the expense of wellbeing”. Hurrah! This country at last has a pair of hands waiting to catch it that feel safe, kind, and warm… Read Jackie Heffer-Cooke’s latest blog on mental health
With all the madness from every political orifice over the coming 6 weeks; with decisions that some people want, but no-one really understands; with the enormity of what this year will mean for the future of our (my) children in the UK, at least we know someone, in some kind of power, kind of cares. Which for a mindful moment, is all that really matters. You can have all the wealth in the world, the hard or the soft Brexits, trade agreements and no more immigrants! But will that really make you happy?
As the brilliant BBC1 programme ‘Mind Over Marathon’ vividly highlighted, people with mental health problems are bar staff, police detectives, hairdressers, artists, removal men. At some point, we will probably all be effected by depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, or insomnia. Some of us understand our minds enough to honestly say yes, that’s me, and some of us continue to hide through shame or embarrassment, living with pain and perhaps drowning our sorrows.
Mental health issues are nothing new. ‘Human pressures’ and ‘human anxiety’ have been around probably as long as civilised humans have. My 87-year-old mum, a loving, outwardly happy soul, lives with her own feelings of torment from which she has never really been set free. A person of that generation she was told to ‘to count her blessings’, to keep that ‘stiff upper lip’, even though what she really needed was a listening ear, counselling, a social community and definitely a hug.
We have been writing on the human condition since manuscripts began. Religion is based on learning to live with your thoughts and motives, trusting in something bigger than yourself to bring you comfort – whether it’s through Christianity, or any of the other religions that do the same in different ways. Perhaps the reason less people are turning to religion, and more people are turning to other mechanisms for self-help like counselling, mindfulness, yoga, sport is because we no longer want to rely on a mechanism that we can’t believe in, we want to believe in ourselves, and the truth is – it’s all in there. The capacity to like ourselves, to trust ourselves and others, to love and be loved – we just need to learn some techniques to get rid of the noise of criticism and tune in to that which is of use to us, how brilliant each one of us is, in our own way. Not because god made us that way, but because we are. Some of us just at times need help to find that, remember it, and focus on it.
What can we do if we feel like we are breaking apart at the seams and we are not sure how to keep ourselves together? Talk to a friend, a partner, a mum, a colleague, a new mum you met at a baby class. Talk to your yoga teacher, your PT Instructor, someone who runs a group you need, a counsellor, a therapist. What you will find is most people understand and will help. And if they don’t, they will try to. If they don’t try, find someone else. You know the best thing about religion is usually it involves a supportive community of people, these days we must find that for ourselves. But do find it, it’s worth making the effort, this life is ours – we only get one chance – make it the happiest it can be!
It’s Mindful May here at The Orange Grove Clinic and Jackie Heffer-Cooke will be including mindfulness meditations in her YogaBuds yoga classes this month. Come along…