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Did you remember that song from primary school? If you are of my generation it’s highly likely. It’s been running on a loop in my head recently. Each week as I research what to cover on an upcoming episode of my weekly radio program, ‘But I Feel Good’ I inevitably come across a handful of articles on how to get happy, do happy, be happy and stay happy.
If you’re happy and you know it stomp your feet.
For a long time I have been focussed on letting go of this desire to be constantly happy. Think about the ad campaign the Queensland government ran a while back. “Queensland: beautiful one day, perfect the next.” So yes, they have great weather. But living every day with blue skies, or sunshine and lollipops can become a bit monotonous. It loses its value. The special feeling I get in Melbourne when after a long run of wintery, grey days we get a belting blue sky and sunshine day as the season starts to turn. It’s a bit like that for happiness and the pursuit of it.
If you’re happy and you know it shout “hooray!”
It is the range of emotions that we experience that make us human. To deny, avoid or play down any of the moods that get called “bad” or negative is to turn our back on the full gamut of emotional experiences. The pursuit of happiness as the end game deprives us of the opportunity to learn and grow, to build our resilience in the face of adversity.
If you’re happy and you know it do all three.
Perhaps the piece that concerns me most about the relentless pursuit of happiness is the damage that can be done to those who are experiencing challenges with their mind or mental health. To be constantly bombarded with messages that you and your life aren't worth living because you’re not ‘happy all the time’, or ever, can be another metaphorical nail in a coffin.
If you’re not OK, it’s OK to know it! And it’s more than OK to go and get the help you need. A good first step is always your GP and if you are in distress and have no-one else to talk to call Lifeline (Australia wide) on 13 11 14. In case of an emergency call 000.
Why? Because your mind health matters...