This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, with the theme of Surviving or Thriving. We’ve been thinking about this at LCPC, and we’re going to blog some thoughts each day, and then on Friday we are hosting a “Scandi Lunch” where staff from local businesses have been invited to eat waffles, drink coffee, relax and connect with others. If we have conversations about mental health then great, but what’s important are the conversations, the connections, the community.
For me, surviving is keeping your head above water, staying one step ahead, managing to cope with all that life throws at you. There is something to celebrate, but the sense of there being a struggle is implicit. Thriving, however, is different – defined as prosperous and growing, flourishing. So, how do we help our mental health move from surviving to thriving?
One crucial element enabling this to happen is our capacity for creativity, especially through our ability to “play.” That ability of young children to be able to lose themselves in worlds of their own making, where the real, outside world has no influence, seems to get lost once we grow into adulthood – things we like to do gradually give way to things we need to do. Survival, for many, becomes the priority. But I suggest it is this creativity and imagination which fuels our ability to flourish, to grow – which elevates us from merely surviving.
My thought, therefore, is to try to encourage as many people as possible to think about surviving and thriving – how much of what we do day in and day out is about survival? How much room do we dedicate to creativity, immersing in an activity which offers temporary reprieve from the demands and stresses of life in general? It’s not easy to maintain and preserve the space required for being creative, but the benefits for mental health are huge.