Monday 19 March 2018

'We're drowning in a sea of negativity' - New mental health campaign encourages people to 'be sound'

People are being encouraged to share 'sound' stories on social media
People are being encouraged to share 'sound' stories on social media

Cillian Sherlock

Irish people are being encouraged to share stories of 'soundness' on social media, in a bid to create some positive stories on social media.

A Lust for Life and Pieta House have teamed up to create a wellbeing campaign around the quintessentially Irish idea of soundness.

People are asked to share experiences of them being 'sound' or someone else doing something nice for them and using the #SoundEffect hashtag.

The Chair of A Lust for Life, Paula McLoughlin, told that the aim of the campaign was to combat “the sea of negativity” in the world today.

“We were having a lot of conversations around the sea of negativity that we feel we’re drowning in,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“If you even look at last week there was Barcelona, Trump, Brexit. The problem with that negativity is that it sticks. It’s called a negativity bias and it is becoming a serious impediment to our mental health,” she added.

She said we need five positive experiences to balance every negative or upsetting experience.

“It is hurting us and it is constantly affecting us so we started this campaign with our very good friends at Pieta House."

The campaign, which spans into the Electric Picnic music festival next weekend, was launched this morning and is already trending on Twitter.

“The concept behind it is really simple – we’re just asking people to do something sound and share it using the hashtag. The idea is we are trying to create a wave of soundness,” she added.

A Lust for Life was founded in October 2015 by Niall "Bressie" Breslin, Derry McVeigh, Susan Quirke, Pritesh Symonds-Patel and Hugh Cafferky.

Ms McLoughlin stressed that this didn’t have to be “grand, sanctimonious and public acts”.

“It can be as simple as talking to someone you’re in a lift with, letting someone out in traffic, letting your brother use the remote when you haven’t for five years or telling that girl about her skirt stuck in her knickers before she walks across town,” she said.

“It’s that quintessentially Irish thing for that warm fuzzy feeling you have when someone does something sound for you or you do something sound for someone else,” Ms McLoughlin added.

She said A Lust for Life works with neuroscientists and psychologists and that there is science behind it.

“It isn’t fluffy bunny stuff. There is hard science to back up being sounder and it’s not just about being sound to someone else, it’s about being sound to yourself too,” she said.

Ms McLoughlin said this could be taking a moment to say something nice to yourself before you drift off to sleep, or thinking of ten nice things you are grateful for like a cup of tea or your mother.

“This doesn’t have to be hugely worthy or intellectual. We are all human beings with minds that we need to take care of,” she added.

Electric Picnic, which runs from September 1 to September 3, will see the campaign reach a wider audience.

“We have a whole series of sessions talking about mental wellness and being sound. We’ll have guys like Jack Reynor, the Minister for Health Simon Harris, Sinead Burke, Shane Byrne and of course our very own Bressie,” Ms McLoughlin said.

They will also be running “A Wall of Sound” where people can share what sound things they have done and recommend songs that make them feel positive.

“We’ll be making a playlist of those songs which will be booming out from the front of there,” she added.

They will also be distributing hard copies of ‘The Little Book of Sound’ which was authored by Bressie, Susan Quirke and Dr Malie Coyne.

A free digital copy of the book, which was designed by Natalie Keville, is available on A Lust for Life’s website.

The book contains lots of tips and tricks on improving your mental wellbeing and focusing on being sound.

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