One of my favourite ways to look after my mental health and deal with a crisis is through creativity – in many different forms. I truly believe that we all have creativity, and the beautiful thing is that it looks different for each of us, a product of our own expression, imagination and original thought. Since we all have mental health as well, it only goes to say that using creativity to look after our mental health is a viable option for all of us.
For me, writing as a way of expression, and sometimes performing what I’ve written,is a go to when I experience difficult emotions. It not only helps to distract me, but allows me to externalise my thoughts and feelings in a non harmful way. Writing, drama, and art therapy now exist as alternative forms of therapy. Many people report success using these forms; Alzheimer’s sufferers have been helped by art therapy as it can enhance communication, brain function, and social interactions – it can even trigger dormant memories and emotions! This shows how powerful the creative arts can be.
Not everyone will want to engage in full art/ drama therapy, or therapy at all, but we all deserve to look after our mental health (even if we’re feeling good in ourselves currently) and so being creative can still serve us in many ways. Maybe you would like to try picking up a pen, doodling, and just seeing what happens. Maybe writing or acting to express yourself. Perhaps you’d like to try origami as a way to focus, painting as a way to relax, or using writing prompts for a fun activity (having fun is vital for feeling good).
Flexing our creative muscle can also be really helpful in our every day lives as well – we may find it easier to balance tasks and find ways to overcome challenges. Plus if we’re using creativity to look after our mental health, we might feel better and brighter, giving us the energy and stability to get through the day.
Using creativity to approach difficult topics for us that we might find difficult to open up about otherwise – even to ourselves – can be super healing. And we can use our imaginative minds to overcome any difficulties we may face in doing so!
Looking after and facing our mental health doesn’t have to be boring or scary – life offers so much more than that.
Hello Happies! (Apparently that’s what we’re called now, just came up with it – if you have a better idea do share)
This is a basic guide on how – and why – to write your own Happy Note. There is no set formula, except that you must try to spread joy or motivate and encourage through your words, but it might be helpful to have some ideas. First though, here’s 10 reasons why you should write a Happy Note:
1. Your words could really brighten someone’s day. You never know what someone is going through, so a few kind words found from a stranger could really mean something to them.
2. Even if your note doesn’t have a profound impact on someone else, by consciously writing positive words you are training your brain to think positive thoughts; a happy mindset can change your life.
3. It’s super easy and takes less than 5 minutes, so why not?
4. It’s a great activity for kids to come up with something kind and have fun decorating their note, teaching them skills in creativity and kindness.
5. It helps you to feel good about yourself as you are deciding to do something for someone else and the world around you. This in turn encourages you to do more to aid the causes you are interested in.
6. It’s fun; you can be as artistic as you like because you are in control.
7. You can make a Happy Note wherever and whenever you like: on the go, while watching TV, during a break – it’s up to you!
8. A Happy Note allows you to feel connected to like minded people and be kind to someone else without having to deal with any social interaction, which can be really scary for some people.
9. It’s only a small step towards a happier life and a happier world, so you don’t need to be afraid to give it a go and it doesn’t require a lot of effort – go at your own pace in taking the step. You’re doing great just by reading this!
10. Happy Notes are symbolic in bringing about a more joyful world, and by creating one you are starting the process in making this dream a reality.
So, you’ve decided you want to write your own Happy Note? Great! But where to begin? As we’ve said already, there’s no set formula for your happy note, just so long as it’s full of joy, motivation and/or encouragement. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide to creating your own Happy Note and some templates. Go spread that positivity!
1. Grab a pen and some paper. If you want you can also grab some other things to jazz up your note such as glitter, Pom Pom or coloured pencils.
2. Decide what you want your note to say. Remember to make it positive, motivational, joyful, encouraging or all four! It could be a quote or a family saying. Perhaps you’d like to tell your story to inspire someone else. Whatever it is, make it kind. (We’ve included some of our fave quotes at the end of this post)
3. If you want, add a little message on the back of your note to let the world know what it is so the movement can spread. You can use this template – or come up with your own:
‘Hi amazing person,
I am a happy note; my purpose is to spread joy, motivate and encourage others. I want the world to be a happy positive place so I’m part of a movement called Our Happy Notes. I hope you’re having a great day, but if not I hope I’ve helped to brighten it a little. Remember it’s ok not to be ok. There are people out there that care. If you want to find out more visit @our.happy.notes on Instagram or http://www.ourhappynote.wordpress.com
4. Choose where you’re going to leave your note – will it be on a train? In a book? On a shelf? Or under a coffee cup? Just make sure it’s somewhere that someone will find it, and it won’t get blown away by the wind.
5. So, you’ve written your first Happy Note, but what now? When the time feels right, write another and spread more joy. In the meantime look around you for the small things you can do to make a difference. Be kind to someone by holding open the door; smiling as you pass; helping carry a shopping bag. And don’t be disheartened if that kindness isn’t returned at first – it’s going to take time, but you are doing something great.
While you’re working towards all this joy for other people it’s possible you may have neglected someone very important: yourself. You can be kind to yourself, it’s not wrong – it’s necessary. When you smile the world smiles with you. It’s a slow process but it is possible (more on this soon).
If all this work for change has got you itching to do more, then we encourage you to find an issue you are passionate about and research so you can apply our principal that a small step can make a big difference to said issue. And while we’re on the topic of passion – if you can find something that sets your soul on fire then it’s going to revolutionise your world. Look into what you are curious about and try out something new. If doing something in person is difficult for you, the internet has a huge variety of courses for you to give a go. We promise it won’t be the end of the world if you try something and don’t like it, so you may as well.
‘You only fail when you stop trying’
‘Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light’ ~Albus Dumbledore
‘You are enough’
‘Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything it is’ ~Mandy Hale
‘You cannot find peace by avoiding life’ ~ Virginia Woolf
‘Only in the darkness can you see the stars’ ~ Martin Luther King
We hope you’ve enjoyed this short guide and now feel equipped to go forth and create your first Happy Note. You’re part of a movement now – a joyful movement.
If you make a note please do share it with us on Instagram @our.happy.notes or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.