Time to read: 3 minute
It is a common mistake for those who are happy to assume that the reverse state is sadness. It isn’t. The opposite of happiness is boredom or fear. If the Gods want to kill you, they will first make you bored. But if they want you to suffer, they’ll make you scared.
Anxiety is the fear that we will not be able to cope with what happens to us. It can be a dark and overwhelming syndrome. But it can be overcome with the right strategy. My latest book, Overcoming Anxiety: The Definitive Guide, presents such a strategy and you can find that on the eBook page here. It covers all of the practices and skills which could be taught in schools, in order to prevent this kind of suffering.
The choice not to prepare children for personal issues such as anxiety is ignorant and reckless. Each year an increasing number of workers are taking time off due to stress, while mental health issues continue to be misperceived and treated flippantly.
Fun and simple techniques, easy to teach to children, for dealing with these kinds of issues do exist and should be made an essential element of the curriculum. Teaching these young and emphasising them throughout education will create a lifelong defence against mental health epidemics which are sweeping Western nations. Mental health issues can be very difficult to cure or even diagnose, but are unbelievably easy to prevent.
Providing children with the ability to cope with and overcome mental health issues is not only effective for allowing self-treatment, it will also raise general public awareness of these problems. This will lead to better designed methods for dealing with issues, in workplaces and in social settings. Having an understanding of what others are going through will balance out the inequality of perception between physical and mental injury.
Anxiety is a great example of a preventable problem which is instead allowed to occur, and rarely treated properly. Even sufferers don’t understand what they are feeling because we have never been taught how to understand these emotions.
This is State neglect.
We know what we need to do to look after our body: eat well and exercise. If we aren’t looking after our body it is fairly visible, and the optician, dentist and doctor are all busy doing regular test for us. But what about the mind? Are there no exercises we can do to keep the mind healthy? Of course there are, but they aren’t widely shared. An unhealthy mind seems less concerning to us because we can’t see it, there’s no evidence. When we break a leg it hurts, and it looks horrible. But if our mind is unhealthy, we don’t see it. We can still walk and talk. Our thinking might suffer, but how can we express that; share that?
We could introduce an entirely new vocabulary to children so that they can explain their feelings or emotions just as they can talk about any physical pain. This will facilitate the greater awareness and equality which is so important for tackling the mental health epidemic.
In order to tackle the crisis head on, a number of exercises and practices should be taught in schools and encouraged at all ages.
Happiness is a skill and it can be taught and must be while we are young. Anxiety is a pervasive issue in the United Kingdom, but it is simple to tackle. I have set out a framework for doing so in my new eBook, but I hope that in the future it will be part of compulsory schooling to learn how to prevent this debilitating problem.
What experience do you have in dealing with mental health? How could we improve mental health education? Use the comments and join the conversation.