Developing positive habits to support our mental health is more important than ever
In July and September last year I wrote about my need to feel optimistic in these difficult times and I make no apology for returning to the very same subject again because as we move through the early months of 2021 things still aren’t looking too good! But I am finding that developing positive habits to support my mental health is helping me immensely.
Covid marches on and our economy looks to be in trouble with businesses collapsing and unemployment rising. On top of that David Attenborough is warning that with global heating ‘the moment of crisis has come’.
But, as Monty Python said we should ‘always look on the bright side of life’ and as I learned from the book ‘The Future We Choose’ it is essential that if we are to bring about the change we need our first step is to adopt ‘stubborn optimism.’
With this in mind, over the past few months I’ve been reporting on the good news stories which rarely hit the headlines. And many gems I’ve found.
Among the good news I’ve found Fiona Brennan’s book and on-line course ‘The Positive Habit: Six Steps for Transforming Negative Thoughts into Positive Emotions’ which really is a gift! Have you noticed how very often something comes along at just the right time? Just when you need it? So the idea of developing positive habits has been for me.
The great thing is that ‘Positive Habit’ is not only a book but an online course with audio meditations. You can initially try it out for free on-line only making a donation if you wish. I made a donation pretty quickly because it was well worth it.
Perhaps what it’s about can be best summed up in the introductory video when Fiona Brennan says – in her gentle Irish accent – ‘Positivity is a skill that can be learnt like any other skill.’ I’ve come to see though that learning positive habits takes time and a certain amount of determination.
Something which sticks in my mind is her assertion that in our modern world thinking is the greatest addiction and don’t I know that’s true. As we go about our daily lives many of us are rarely ‘in the moment’ but have our heads full of thoughts about this and that. It’s no surprise really when you think about the amount of money spent on grabbing our attention through adverts which pop up everywhere. It’s reckoned that grabbing our attention is worth a lot of money!
I guess our troubled and overfilled minds is why meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism have been taken up by so many of us.
I see the ideas which are central to the Positive Habits Programme sit very nicely with the suggestion in ‘The Future We Choose’ that if we are to move towards a better future we need to adopt ‘stubborn optimism’ and hold on to hope. . Not the close your eyes and cross your fingers sort of hope but that which acknowledges the problems we face but spurs us into action.
Both are powerful antidotes to the stream of stories of gloom and doom which we are fed daily and which can very easily cause us to either switch off or plunge us into depression.
Both will, I believe, help us to feel mentally stronger in facing this seemingly mad, mad world.