Friday 21 October 2016

Hello Goodbye, Hello Goodbye

John Masterson

Published 17/10/2016 | 02:30

The Beatles in 1967. Photo: PA Wire
The Beatles in 1967. Photo: PA Wire

Each year, I'm amazed by the range of events that Carlow Mental Health organise for a week in October. They are good at getting people to think about their mental health. They are positive about providing tips to focus our minds on behaviours that are helpful to ourselves and to our friends, family, colleagues.

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A few years back, they used the slogan H.E.L.L.O. to get us to focus on Hearing the people we are talking to and Engaging with them more fully, to Listen actively and fully, to Learn something about the person we are talking with, and to keep this up on an Ongoing basis. It stuck for me. It hops into my mind every time I bid someone a cursory hello, which is several times every day.

Being a Beatles fan, I know that with HELLO goes GOODBYE, which set me thinking. If we can say HELLO to the habits that promote positive mental health, lets think about what we can do to say GOODBYE to some of our troubles.

G could be 'Good to see you'. It could be the attitude of Gratitude, or it could be to remind us to Go for it and get something done that you have been avoiding. It could remind us that Giving, whether money to charity or time volunteering, is good for the community and for the person doing the giving.

O might be to reinforce the Ongoing nature of relationships and the attention they require. Or it could be that it is OK to feel down. It is normal. And the second O is 'Oh dear me' because we all mess up now and again. Just move on. Build a bridge and get over it.

D might be Do your best. Nobody is perfect. Stop beating yourself up. 'No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worry can change the future' puts it well.

B is for Be there, Be present, Be involved. That probably means throwing your phone in a drawer more than you do and rationing your use of social media. It could also be about Bed. A good night's sober sleep is a good tonic. It could remind you about Balance. Too much of anything is usually not a great idea.

Y for me is simple. YOLO. I don't know how many times a day I remind myself that You Only Live Once and that this is not a rehearsal. So don't waste time and let life pass by. It is also for Yourself. You need to look after You. Like they tell you on the plane, put your own oxygen mask on first or you will be no use to anyone.

E for me is about energy and exercise. It is one of those paradoxes of life that the more exercise you take the more energy you have. Exercise is not quite a magic bullet but it is not far from it. If you are not doing it, then it is time to say goodbye to the couch more often.

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