Let's talk: Can our society be happy again?

3개월 전

Is it just me, or has the divisive conversational climate of politics and news in recent years had a terrible effect on our general happiness? I feel that we are living with more fear and angst, and that many people are even pulling back from involvement, unsure of how to exist in a world where anything we say or do might cause a stir. I worry about our well-being, on a macro and micro level. I am especially worried about trends in mental health. They're not good.

I am not writing this to say I know better than the next person about how to fix this mess. But I have some thoughts to share, because I do think it can be fixed. Maybe this will resonate with to you.

Smiley faces and frowning faces
Source: Pixabay

The Turtle Syndrome


The negativity we encounter on a daily basis pushes us inward, I think. I stopped posting regularly on Facebook after the last U.S. election. I felt sad and tired and like whatever I may think or feel or want for our world, our people and our environment just doesn't matter. That is not an empowered place to be, my friends. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and the impact of the current political climate on our general well-being. It seems like we have gone into a kind of self-protection mode that creates barriers in unseen but damaging ways.

I think of this as the Turtle Syndrome. When there is too much negativity on the airwaves, we stop connecting to protect ourselves. We quit behaving as caring, trusting people toward others, and pull away instead. We think of people we don't know well, or whose beliefs are different from our own, as "them." We look with hostility upon the person on the roadway who is driving too slow, the people at the market who are crowding the aisle and making it difficult to pass, and those not like ourselves who are doing anything in a way we don't understand. We may even wish others harm. To me, this is the perfect storm for a broken society, for lack of connection and a decline in mental health.

Negativity breeds more of the same. It builds, becomes contagious. Right now so many of the conversations are negative or judgmental that it's like a pervasive gas that is poisoning us all.

Consider this:

  • When you hear a sad song, sometimes you actually feel sad. It can have a powerful effect on you. Conversely, when you hear a happy song, you can feel upbeat and like everything is going to be okay. This is the same thing.
  • If you tune into the news, and it is all about negative politics, "us vs. them" conversations, name calling and political decisions that affect you, your family and your environment, but that feel completely out of your control, it takes you down a notch. How can you feel engaged and empowered and like you're a part of something good with all that going on?
This is what I'm talking about: the fact that we are all vulnerable to the effects of conversations and media and the general climate around us. It doesn't matter who started it, and it doesn't matter who is at fault. We all are. I believe we are all "us" and we are all "them." And we are not going to fix it until we each take some personal responsibility and ownership.

What happens when people don't know which way to turn

Sad smiley face
Source: Pixabay

Bad things happen when people don't feel empowered, don't see that they have choices, and feel alone and in pain. And I think more and more of that happens as this climate of negativity continues on relentlessly.

I'm not going to focus on this in depth, because I really don't want to dwell here on the ills of society, but on what we can do to create change. I believe we can and must choose to focus more on making things better and coming together as a society than on what is wrong. We do have to talk about the problems. That is critical. But it's not the only thing we should be talking about.

I want to talk about how to get well, at a macro and micro level.

One of the reasons I think about this so much is because of loss. In the time my kids were in high school, from 2012 to 2019, 8 children died in our community. Seven of these kids were students at my kids' high school. One was a young child in our community who was getting ready to start kindergarten. Only one of these was an accident; all the others were the result of violence, murder or suicide. Six of these deaths were directly linked to mental health problems. It hardly seems possible to me, even now, because we live in a great community, with plenty of resources. And it breaks my heart. When lives are cut short, it is so profoundly sad. How might those young people have turned out, and what joy might they have brought to those around them? What might they have achieved?

But think about this. For me, for us — my family — this was not the singular experience of those years. We were impacted deeply by these lives lost. We talked about them, and grieved. And we continue to reflect on the importance of love and caring and understanding, in part because of those terrible losses. But in addition to, and in spite of all that, my kids had a wonderful high school experience. They had great friends, and were involved in sports and activities, and we took trips and celebrated holidays together and with our extended family and enjoyed that time. In other words, looking back at those years and remembering the losses is just one lens through which we can view that time. Not only that, but my kids felt supported in how they processed and came to terms with loss. I feel incredibly grateful to the school system for how they handled the events, and the sensitivity to the need to feel and to grieve. I believe it helped to still the ripple effect of those terribly painful times.

What about this? Imagine a world where people were taught, at an early age, to really take care of themselves when they don't feel good, emotionally. "Always remember," we could tell our kids, "if you feel upset or like you want to do harm to yourself or someone else, you can make a different choice. Here are some resources for you."

What other choices or resources might we offer? I'm not a mental health professional, or an expert in any of this. But I do remember going through an incredibly tumultuous time as a teen and even into my 20's, feeling at times extremely depressed and anxious. I had no idea what to do. No one ever told me this could even happen, let alone how to deal with it. Resources for handling sadness, confusion, depression or loneliness were just not a thing. So I didn't talk about it. I suffered with it, day in and day out, feeling incredibly bleak and alone. And this was while I was working and in graduate school and had wonderful friends. The truly startling thing is that not one person in my life — not my acquaintances, my closest friends or my family members — had any clue, whatsoever. I wore a mask to disguise it all. Today, very honestly, I feel lucky to be alive.

What might have gone differently? Well, let's say as a child heading into my teen years, I was told that if I ever felt sad, that there were things to try, or people to talk to. That there are mental health professionals and medications. That it's okay to feel that stuff and you can get better. I know these conversations are more prevalent today than they were then, but we need to do much much better. Should it be a part of school curriculum? I would advocate for that.

I read today that the suicide rate in my state has gone up by 40% since 1999. WTF. Seriously. And why?

I won't claim to know all the answers, but I do know that, for me, getting better was a combination of things. I found vitamins and supplements that helped. I discovered the power of involvement, talking to people, doing work that is meaningful and being part of communities. It was a whole constellation of things, and it took time. I believe now that I had to remap my brain so that healthy, positive thoughts could eventually overtake the dark ones. There may not be any easy answers, but I believe there are many different things that can make a difference for people who are suffering emotionally.

I read recently that many people who attempt to take their lives don't premeditate on it. They get into a bad place. At that moment they don't see any way out. It all feels overwhelming and it's too hard to cope. That's when they make a short-term decision that has an ultimate, long-term impact. This we have learned from people who have attempted suicide unsuccessfully.

Finding our happy place

Smiley face balloon
Source: Pixabay

Again, I want to talk more about wellness and how we can each play a role in the healing of our society.

First a disclaimer. Anytime you talk about how to fix things, you run a risk. Someone may feel that their pain is belittled. Professionals may caution you not to take matters in your own hands, and say you must turn to those who have the skills and training to handle it. Please hear me when I say that I do not want or intend to diminish the depth of anyone's pain, or suggest that severely depressed people can fix it without professional help, or that curing deep depression is a matter of taking some vitamins and putting on a happy face. Believe me, I know better.

But let's talk about spectrums. At one end of the mental health spectrum, we all have bad days. Now and then we feel frustrated or angry or overwhelmed by parenting or our jobs or commute traffic or relationship problems. In the very broad middle of this spectrum is a general feeling that life isn't great, whether it's due to stress or ugly politics or personal problems. Maybe we really don't know why; we just feel like we're under a dark cloud, or like we are swimming in a malaise because of all the negative conversations around us. We may not want to talk about it, either because we fear that others wouldn't understand or it's embarrassing. And then there is the far end of the spectrum. Depression. Overwhelming sadness or anxiety. Desperation.

Think about that. Of all the things that could fall under the scope of a mental health discussion, it's only at that far end that we start really talking about diagnosable and treatable conditions. Here's the trouble, in my humble opinion. We should be conversing about this, and contributing to better mental wellness all along that spectrum.

Also, I believe that it is easy to be unaware or to miss the signals when malaise shifts over to something more severe. If you have a person in your life who you know is kind of moody, do you know how bad it is? Do you know what to do? Do you gravitate toward that person to see if you can lend a hand, or do you shy away, unsure of what — if anything — you could possibly do to help? And would you know if what they are experiencing went from bad to worse? It's okay. It's not your fault. We don't really have the tools and methods for helping those around us. And the people we know who are suffering may be really good at hiding it. They actually may not know how close to desperation they are, or what might trigger the shift from feeling bad to feeling like life is no longer worth living.

This is no easy problem to solve. But we must do so, don't you think?

If we could make a difference, what might that look like?

Fingers touching, like the Michelangelo painting in the Sistine Chapel.
Source: Pixabay

I think we desperately need certain things for well-being: connection, hope and joy.

Connection is about being a part of meaningful communities and friendships, and not feeling alone. With all the access to social media today, it's still possible not be connected in a deep way to community and close friends. We can't go around scooping up all the disconnected people and finding a way to help them. But we can say hi to those around us in the grocery store. We can smile or joke with the people waiting at the bus or standing in line for a concert ticket. We can let the other person go ahead in traffic instead of speeding up, scooting ahead and demonstrating a "me first" attitude. I believe these things breed more of the same, whether they are positive or negative. We can choose the positive. This is exquisitely within our power.

Hope is about believing that tomorrow will be better, or that the future is bright. Right over that horizon is something worth finding, whether it's a pot of gold, a goal to shoot for or a better tomorrow. Right now, and this is absolutely true, neighborhoods, businesses and cities are doing amazing things to make a better world. So when we talk about the decline in bee populations, the devastation of the rainforest, and the suicide rate, let's also talk about what's being done.

  • Have you heard of Drawdown? Did you know about this initiative to reduce carbon emissions to the point where we can actually create a positive shift in our global climate? And that these things are happening?
  • Did you hear that some students have invented a bacteria to eat the plastic in the oceans?
  • Did you know about the Earth Day Network and their work to protect bees?
  • And did you know the World Health Organization is working toward dramatically reducing suicide rates?
Those are just a few examples. If I could get everyone I know to take one action, it would be to have them bring up in conversation what's good. Look for the good and share that at the water cooler instead of the latest dire news or statistics. Stop contributing to poisonous thinking. It's killing us. I really believe that. It's up to each of us to help rebuild hope, and I don't think it's as hard as it may seem.

And joy. Joy is that feeling you get sometimes on a Saturday morning when you make that first cup of coffee and the birds are singing, and your little girl, or maybe your cat or your dog, sits on your lap and snuggles. It's laughter and enjoyment of things that are sweet and beautiful. And yes, I know that throughout the world there is terrible strife — war, and famine and people living under political oppression. I don't mean to suggest that everyone has equal access to all the things and experiences that can bring joy, because it certainly isn't true. What I'm trying to convey is that I believe most of us have an untapped joyful place in our hearts that has been perhaps rusted over. We need to clear off some of that rust and find that again.

Am I making any sense? My final thought for now is that I think we simply must remember the golden rule. This simple and beautiful concept is about treating others as you would want to be treated. It's about respect and human kindness. I believe we are all capable of that, but somehow in a world where nasty diatribe is commonplace, we have simply forgotten what we learned in preschool. Be nice. Treat others with respect. You would want that too.

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If you tune into the news

I don’t unless I need the weather report.

feeling at times extremely depressed and anxious

I’ve had enough failures and struggles I realized I need to put the effort where it’s best for me. Cut away what is not working or enjoyable and move on.

Society focus too much on having to score 100% on everything or their ENTIRE LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!! will be a failure. Sadly with a mindset like that it’s going be. Sometimes you just got do your own personal best and that all that matters.

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I think we do need to protect ourselves from the news. I tune into it each day because I want to know what is going on in the world, but I look for balance. There are so many other things to give our attention to besides politics.

There are millions of other stories. They are just being drowned out by diatribes and anger. What we choose to focus on and talk about each day can make all the difference in how the day goes and how we interact with the people in our lives. Take good care of yourself, @enjar. 😁

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I agree with @free-reign that we need more homes for the insane to be cared for instead of letting them roam freely.
The last part of your post was uplifting, @jayna - about joy and also the things that are being done to help reduce plastics, save the bees, reduction of carbon emissions and it’s so important to get a handle on the rising suicide rates.

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Spread some joy today, @redheadpei. The change must happen organically, and it starts with us.

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Yes you are making sense :)

Those are many thoughts I agree with.

These days it seems people are brainwashing themselves into heightened emotions from consuming focused online content.

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Yes, you put it so well! People are brainwashing themselves by binge watching news programs that just rule them up and stuff their heads full of reasons to be angry. It’s so much wasted energy that could be put toward the good!

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I think some of the worst problems we have with society today are due to the fact that we now have certifiably insane people walking around all over the place, when we used to put those who were insane and represented a danger to the community into homes where they could be cared for, rather than remaining a threat to everyone else. This in itself, IMO, is insane.

I think the ending of putting dangerously insane people away was pushed for by Big Pharma. They convinced the "authorities" that their drugs could keep the insane safe to mingle with regular people. Which was all well and good until the German pilot intentionally flew a plane full of innocent passengers into the Alps. He was on an anti-depressive that has the side effect of producing suicidal thoughts.

You'd think a big demand for banning anyone from piloting an aircraft while taking Big Pharma drugs would be in order, but as far as I know, the whole thing was swept under the rug, so we can probably expect something similar to happen at some point. This is "acceptable" to those running things. So some people die, big deal, they must think. But there isn't a fraction of an ounce of concern for people anymore.

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One of the hardest parts about this is healthcare and who is going to pay for all of this. Without proper coverage and treatment for everyone, this will continue to be an issue. The reason most of the facilities were closed down were due to improper treatment for the patients. The other being over population. We can't lock everyone up. The choices in a lot of cases is either lock them up or drug them. Speaking as someone on the cusp...I don't want either. Yet daily life outside, working and being around people really is too much. Yet I have to do it.

Mental health education does need to be addressed. I am admittedly suicidal and yes I take antidepressants. It is far worse when I am not on medication and I do think the medication can enhance that feeling. Since the medication either enhances or depresses certain receptors it changes the feelings you have buy increasing or decreasing the 'feeling'. It doesn't create suicidal thoughts. I am only putting this out there because there are many that feel it creates the suicidal feeling and thought. It doesn't, it enhances or is depressed from what the person is already feeling. I don't want to die. Personally, I want to live, explore, grow. Yet when that thought or feeling comes in, it is debilitating. I know it will pass, but the urges and feelings that go with it are unbearable.

LOL, I keep going off on a tangent that should be a post of its own.

Still great points.

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I understand, @tryskele. I really do. Having been there, I know what you are saying — you want to live and continue to build your life, but depression is so debilitating at times. Thank you for telling it like it is, and sharing your story.

I will share with you some of the things that helped me, if you like. But at any rate, I’m so glad you have meds that work pretty well. Please keep taking them, and please do all you can to keep moving, growing, and contributing the gift of yourself that you bring to this world. There is no one else who can be you.

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Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts, @free-reign. Now I have little assignment for you. Go search for information on positive things being done for mental health today. Then tell someone about it. Talk about the good. 😊

Do we need to do better at managing the clinically insane, and make sure we don’t let suicidal pilots get in a plane? Absolutely. What you’ve described is horrible and inexcusable. It should never have happened.

But guess what. There are something like 44,000 flights per day worldwide. That’s how many times each day it goes well and perfectly mentally healthy men and women transport us where we want to go. I’m just saying that to focus on the one time it went badly gives disproportionate airtime to the bad. That is the point of this article.

Thanks so much for reading, and sharing your thoughts. And for letting me use your example as an illustration. 😊

Spread some positivity. You got this.

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I was addressing the question in your title, but I have written a post for dropintheocean today that addresses my view on this further, as an answer to your reply. It's at the top of my blog if you'd like to read it, The title is "Can Right Coexist With Wrong?" :)

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Oh I will read it! I look forward to hearing more on your perspective.

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To be sad or happy, many times it is also one's own decision, certainly the mental characteristics of each subject, will always exert force in this subject, the environment that surrounds us, and the genetics also influences, because nobody can escape from that. I have gone through strong situations in my life, which have made me reconsider many things, bad times and bad people exist and many times are closer than we think and this can greatly influence our mood.


Almost 3 years ago I became a mother, and decided not to allow many of these situations that have affected me were not going to continue doing so, for my sake and my son's, I do not see news for more than two years, because the situation in my country is very hard and see them will only make me enter a state of anxiety by which I pass and do not want to live again, well I can not escape reality, at least I book tormenting myself with which many others live.


It is important to always seek to spread our mind, find healthy distraction and move away from anything that can damage our tranquility and peace. I love this publication, really excellent!

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience, @fmbs25. I think it’s wonderful that you made the choice to live in a positive way for your children.

You are right that we all are in part a product of our genetics and we can’t change that. Plus we have had life experiences that have altered our outlook and ability to manage the challenges life sends our way. That said, we really have a lot in our power. I think very often we just don’t choose to exercise that power. I believe there are millions of people who are feeling like they are a victim of politics and negativity and they can’t be happy. But like you, many people can make a choice to life a happier life and rise above the difficulties. I would like to see more people actively choosing to make things better for themselves and other people.

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OMG @jayna you are not alone. I feel the same way. Turtle Syndrome seems to be very apropos. FB has become so incredibly toxic. You get bullied for any view you have. I have gone to just sharing silly stuff and using messenger to chat with my friends that live in other places. Other than that I stay away. I can't watch the news it's just too 'stressful' So I sit in my shell not knowing what to do. I know 'we' the ones that feel this way can't stay quiet or 'the other side' will just swallow us up. It's not that we're weak by any means, it's just that a lot of us are extremely emotional. We have very strong feelings. Passionate is probably the best term.

We want a planet for future generations to enjoy. We want our children to be safe. Yes, at any moment something can be taken from us, but we don't need to worry if our children are hurting so bad they feel death is the way out. Too think if we could change those feelings and have them channel them into eradicating this mess.

Our teachers have become parents to our children. At least that's what many have turned too. They are too busy 'living' their lives that they rely on someone else to parent their kids. Then there are those on the opposite side, that keep their kids completely sheltered so when they go off into the world they cannot cope. Sadly, I have come to the opinion we do need to work on positive views, self-esteem and self empowerment in school. I was bullied, omg was I bullied. No one, not even my mom listened. So I learned behaviors to avoid .. and still do.

Thank you so much for putting this out there. It needs to be said and it needs to become the topic.

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I really do feel that — that it’s time to do something to help people see that they do have a choice in their outlook and approach to communications and relationships. If we put our energy into vilifying other people for their views, and feeling angry and disenfranchised, we are actively choosing to poison our minds, I believe, and to perpetuate toxic negativity. We can make a different choice.

As we know, it’s not easy to do, and some days are harder than others. But I believe that a daily choice to try to think positively and to cheer for what’s good can build on itself. You wake up in the morning and make some waffles and you think: wow — look at this! I have this almost magical ability to create a lovely experience and fabulous aromas. Isn’t this great? I feel so grateful for this moment!

In the article when I mentioned I remapped my brain so that positive thoughts would ultimately replace dark ones, that is what I’m talking about. It took a long time and a lot of practice, though. And it’s ongoing.

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I can't even begin to tell you the impact that these words have on me. And there is so much truth in the depressing news that surrounds us every single day. I do watch the news every day but that is more a matter of being informed and after awhile I need to turn it off because Society seems to feed on bad news. Isn't that strange?

Coming from a place where I like to look for the good things in life or at least the positive things it behooves me to sit and watch endless hours of murder, Mayhem, unrest in this world, I could go on and on. There used to be a news program where they always ended it with something positive and I think that we have gotten away from positive thinking.

Well my life is not perfect, I get up every day and started out with a little bit of yoga, a wonderful cup of coffee and words of encouragement as my children go out the door. There's also a lot of talk amongst us, mainly to keep each other open to communication and I hope that by doing this, my children and extended family reach out to others in a positive way. And while this sounds forced, it is not. I have always felt positive and safe in my growing up world and wanted the same for my own children.

Thank you for such a wonderful message today and if people only do a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Couple that with a little bit of humanity and understanding and you have just hit the bonus round. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day day!

!tip

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Oh I’m so glad this post was meaningful to you, @dswigle. It’s great to hear from another person who is seeking that balance between being informed and being swept up in the madness and negativity. And it’s so wonderful that you put that time and energy into your children and instilling healthy mental habits and family connection. That will serve them all of their lives!

Thank you for the supportive message, my friend, and for the tip. I am going to learn about tipu!

Let’s try this....

!tip

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It's very hard when everything around is drawing negative energy and the only positivity is from within us.
That's why I choose the stay true to may values in life because that's what is going to pull me out from being drawing in all those bad and negative thoughts and energy around me.

Thanks for sharing.. I think I would share about my values in life and work because of what I have just gone through recently in my work life, it's because of these values that I was fully tested .. that no money or power can buy me over.

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Yes, the toughest challenges and most difficult times are sometimes (in retrospect) excellent experiences that help to make us that much stronger and more resilient. It’s great that you have solidified your own values!

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@jayna - negativity is toxic for sure. We need a little healthy skepticism in our lives but those who dwell on and foster negativity are never happy. My ex is my "ex" because his whole attitude was always negative, accentuated by a drinking problem. It's a whole different life with @crypt-skip as he is always upbeat and positive and we laugh together every day.
It's hard to live in today's society when our whole nation is in turmoil from the top of our government on down. We are a nation divided and it's a sad thing to see.
But as you so eloquently pointed out, there are places to find joy and optimism. Spread the positive and find some ways to give back to your community. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities no matter where you live.
The Golden Rule should rule the world!

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I’m so glad you found someone wonderful, @blueeyes8960. I also have a negative ex that just seemed to feed on negativity. One of the least charitable people I’ve ever encountered... yet it took me 7 years to figure out how toxic that situation was. Having someone to laugh with is the most amazing thing ever.

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Well you did better than me, I stayed for 28 years! By the time the boys got to be 14 and 16 and my life was totally no longer involved with theirs, I realized that I was left with "him" and found myself not wanting to go home after work. How sad is that?

But it's all good now - I'm glad it worked out for you as well!

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It is truly amazing what we endure.

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Congratulations @jayna! This post was selected by the Power House Creatives as today's Rally Upvote Post :)

You can find the community announcement on Discord :) and it has also been shared on our FB Page and Twitter feed.

PHC-Footer-05.gif

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Thank you, @steemitbloggers! I am honored.

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I look, personally, to improving our education system as a long term solution for a lot of our ails. Unfortunately for that idea, that is also prone to sad debate as a public education is looked upon either with distrust, or as if it should be treated like a lowest-common-denominator business (I'm thinking standardised testing). Regardless, I believe in the benefits of a strong, community centered and driven education system as a means to educating for rational thought and debate.

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I agree, @wwwiebe. I think school should be more than learning from books. There is so much opportunity there to help kids develop the skills they need for life. Fortunately, I think a lot of schools get that; they run anti- bullying programs, for example. In an ideal world, there is a healthy partnership between teachers and parents and a shared responsibility for helping kids to learn the importance of kindness and respect, so they take that with them when they become citizens of the world.

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Yes! Yes, yes, yes. I remember having a question for the teacher about my son's behaviour, so I had called a meeting. I walked into the meeting room and saw not only the teacher, but the counselor, nurse, and vice-principal. They were expecting me to challenge them! All I wanted was an answer to a question and to figure out how we can all help my son succeed when he was having personal issues. It was a telling statement to me that the school's first reaction to a parent inquiry was to react in a defensive manner. It really does need to be a partnership.

"Finding your happy place" seems to be a theme in my life lately, and so much of what you wrote resonated for me. Thanks for doing your part to bring more positivity in the world, and...

mindful here comes a thought.gif

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Thank you so much, @traciyork. I am honored! And yes, I think we should all seek out our happy place, and then spread some happy. ❤️

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Brilliant reflection, @jayna
One of the things that has made me push myself inward is my total disbelief about news and politics. Our politicians, on this part of the world, have made anything in their power to render themselves untrustworthy.
Add to that political persecution and a lethal economic crisis and we have

the far end of the spectrum. Depression. Overwhelming sadness or anxiety. Desperation.

Anything can trigger a tragic reaction in many people around me now. I experienced a horrible outburst of anger yesterday amid the anguish of my 16-year-old daughter flying alone to Peru, then Chile and facing all kinds of obstacles at the airport in Caracas. It's not even that some people are hiding a mental problem, it is that we are living within an altered mental state but we don't even know how bad it is until we snap.
I always tell those around me that the politicians have messed up with our lives enough as for us to screw ourselves some more.
As you say, there are areas/sources of joy in our lives that we need to cling onto.
I stopped following the news with the same zeal I used to. I try to find joy in the little things while we work our way through this miasma to a wider, fresher path.

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I love hearing that, @hlezama. I really think that reconnection to inner peace and joy is so critical now. I know the political strife in Venezuela is terrible. If more people can begin to think like you, and find some small happiness each day, they will be less vulnerable and less likely to snap from stress. I hope your daughter is okay!

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I try not to pay attention to the news any more. It really is nothing but in-fighting, and people choosing one side or the other and beating each other up. We need people to take a step back and analyze things a little more instead of just reacting to soundbites.

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That is so true. People are wound so tight that it takes nothing to set them off. Some days I wonder what it would take to start a grassroots movement to improve the general mood around the planet.

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IT is the same agenda driven nonsense there has always been, just louder and more divisive than before because of the internet.

I try not to worry too much about things I cannot control and it helps with stress reduction and happiness. Happiness is contagious as well so lets do it!

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Yes, let’s! I couldn’t agree more. We can at least try to filter out the negative noise, right?

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Nicely said, and I agree with most if not all. Especially I like this: "We should be conversing about this, and contributing to better mental wellness all along that spectrum." We put people in boxes way too much, whereas we should all learn to be vulnerable as a strength.
Please keep on doing the things you do, as I think they do make a difference.

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I think that is really true, @nobyeni. We do put people in boxes. Sometimes I do a little exercise and ask myself, as I pass a person in a store or walking at the park, and I think: I wonder what her life is like? Does she paint? Is she in a book club? I wonder if she has grandchildren. If we have curiosity about other people and what they bring to this world, they instantly become three dimensional.

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, my friend!

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Peer pressure, fast paced life, many are not keeping up mentally with modern day living. No actual answers I'm afraid @jayna.

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Answers are all around us, @joanstewart. Do you remember the Random Acts of Kindness movement? It was just about doing a nice thing for another person for no particular reason. Let’s do it. You and me. Today. Do something kind just for the heck of it. That’s the answer.

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Doing something for someone everyday more often than not is from my front gate, yes being positive (or trying to) is the only way forward in this crazy world today @jayna

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I think so too!

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So much of this resonates with me! Please please please if you see a friend of your child's suffering, do not withdraw your child but rather encourage them to be a loving and supportive friend. That goes for relationships among the adults too.

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Yes, we can make a real difference, I believe, through the children. They deserve to grow up in a beautiful world, and be surrounded by supporting communities. 🎈

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Sometimes life is a drag But not when you found your happy place

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And we have to keep finding it. And make sure we nurture it and believe we are worthy of it. 😁

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Thank you much, @theluvbug!

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Sometimes I'm happy that I never had kids, and this is one of those times @jayna 🙏

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Well, I have to say, it’s not for everyone! But for me it has been worth all the challenges and heart ache!

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"What about this? Imagine a world where people were taught, at an early age, to really take care of themselves when they don't feel good"

This is exactly what we are doing my friend!
So strange to read your brilliant post here now after I have posted Day 1 of our trauma training course for child workers just now.
I am of course a turtle due to a natural shyness and after a very difficult life, but this turtle sticks his neck out every now and again to feed on happiness when he helps others! No place for negativity or any other such like.
Oh! And we live by the Golden Rule my friend!
Blessings!

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It’s so wonderful that you do what you do, @papilloncharity. Ad yes, it is more natural for some to remain in the shell! 😆 That is okay too, of course. We all have varying degrees of comfort with human contact!

And really what I’m talking about there isn’t about introverts vs. introverts, but of the damaging effects of negativity on the human spirit, and the breakdown of the belief that we are all part of something — the greater community. I know you already know this, but I had to state it for the record! ❤️

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Thanks very much! Absolutely! Looking past our own needs and wants...to those of another person - true healing balm for the soul!
Blessings...

One need to be strong to be not affected by all the negativity. But sadly, many will be swept by it, and be negative as well. I find myself blessed to be among a group of people who practices connectivity, joy, kindness, hope and the like. We don't judge quick or put down others. And yes like you say, everyone can practice some kindness. Kindness is contagious too. Love can spread like wild fire. Let us hope for the best for our world. ❤️

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That is beautifully said, @iamjadeline. It really does take practice to live in a positive way and treat others with kindness and respect when we are surrounded by so much negativity. But I believe it can be done. Thank you for doing your part! ❤️

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I try not to pay attention to the news any more. It really is nothing but in-fighting, and people choosing one side or the other and beating each up. We need people to take a step back and analyze things a little more instead of just reacting to soundbites.

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What a fantastic and well thought out post. Thank you for writing this. !Tip

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What a fantastic
And well thought out post. Thank you
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I have had this open to read since before it was selected (happily) as yesterday's upvote. @jayna you have said so much that's in my head at the moment: that there is such an overwhelming sense of negativity in the world and, I confess, at the moment, in South Africa, it's staggering. Like you, I watch what people post on the social media and it just adds to the negativity. I have gone so far as to unfriend people. And block them. I have to be on the social media and I like to stay in touch with the news. I did what you call the "turtle" (and I call the "ostrich" thing this weekend, and woke up to discover that the oil price had skyrocketed because....

I think we can be happy. It begins with the small things because, actually, as you say, it's a choice.

Thanks for this, and now I'm giving myself a bit of a talking-to!

Happy Tuesday!

Nope, there are certainly no quick fix solutions to any of this. It doesn't help that our news is lowest-common-denominator and simple appeasement to the masses.

I look, personally, to improving our education system as a long term solution for a lot of our ails. Unfortunately for that idea, that is also prone to sad debate as a public education is looked upon either with distrust, or as if it should be treated like a lowest-common-denominator business (I'm thinking standardised testing). Regardless, I believe in the benefits of a strong, community centered and driven education system as a means to educating for rational thought and debate.

Spot on!! On all your points. Finding the happy place and helping our children to find it is so important. And to be honest, right now, it is really difficult not to become a turtle and put up that protective shield!