How Mindfulness Helps You Gauge Whether You are Surviving or Thriving.

It’s World Mental Health Awareness Week and the Mental Health Foundation’s slogan for 2017 is:  ‘Surviving or Thriving?’

MHAW17 slogan

Photo credit: Mental Health Foundation

The objective of the campaign is to encourage people to consider their mental health on a ‘sliding scale’ or if you prefer, on a spectrum. No longer merely categorising mental health as ‘good’  or ‘poor’ – rather considering whether, at this particular time in our lives, we are just surviving or instead are we are thriving?

Like many of us – the report published this week cites that “nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem and this rises to 7 in every 10 women and young adults aged 18-34”  – I have had times in my life where I have just been surviving.

I also have lots of times when I’m thriving too.   In the past though I wasn’t always aware where I was on the surviving/thriving spectrum.

However, as Ruby Wax points out, mindfulness is a way of having ‘your ear to the ground’ with regard to your own mental health. So formal practices like ‘sounds and thoughts’, where you are encouraged to observe your thoughts in a detached manner, can give early warning signs that something may be amiss.  Equally, it can be a reassuring exercise to take stock and reflect on the day.  Undoubtedly mindfulness has helped me be more aware of my own well being.

The matter of mental health is not a simple matter of pigeon-holing people – those with good mental health and those with poor mental health.  And mindfulness, though being proven to have a positive impact treating some mental illnesses,  is not just for those deemed to be suffering with poor mental health.  Mindfulness can help everyone’s wellbeing – where ever you are on the surviving/thriving scale.

Take care.

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27 Comments

  1. keepmum1
    May 12, 2017 / 11:04 am

    great post! I’ve read Ruby Wax’s book, I found it very good. There are some interesting tips! #blogcrush

  2. May 14, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    I like this idea of considering your position on a scale of thriving vs surviving. I’m hoping to get into practising mindfulness more as I think it could help with the general stress of life as a parent. Also pleased to say I’ve seen it have a positive effect on my daughter who incidentally tried it this morning. #blogcrush

  3. May 14, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    This is one thought provoking post. I’d argue that we slid up and down on this spectrum. #BlogCrush

  4. twotinyhands
    May 17, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    This is good. I’d not seen any of the reports but i like that the lines are being blurred a bit and it’s not all black and white aka good or poor. I like the positive push to mental health that’s going round at the moment, it’s so important! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  5. May 17, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    Very interesting post hun. I’ve never thought about whether I’m thriving or just surviving..now I have though I can that when I was struggling with pnd I was definitely just surviving, I was just moving from day to day and not really enjoying anything at all. Thank god those days seem to have passed now but I will try and be more mindful if my mental health so I can spot any warnings signs before things get bad again.xx #BlogCrush

  6. May 17, 2017 / 9:18 pm

    Very new to all this blogging business and hadn’t even heard of a linky this time last week but just wanted to say thanks for putting this out there. I’ve had my own mountains to climb and plenty of days where I’ve only been surviving. This was a really thought-provoking read x

    • May 18, 2017 / 8:19 pm

      Bless you Jemma – welcome to the blogging community and well done for joining up to your first linky. You’ll never look back xx

  7. thesingleswan
    May 17, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    Thanks for this post. I have been reading a lot about mental health recently for various reasons. I have also read Ruby Wax’s book ‘How to Stay Sane’ in which she talks all about mindfulness. I can definitely say that there have been times in my life when I have been surviving rather than thriving mentally. I wouldn’t consider this to be a mental health issue. Life has its ups and downs. When I was surviving rather than thriving was a down time.

    My sister however has recently been diagnosed with severe PND and anxiety. I would consider her to have mental health issues at the moment. This is more serious than just surviving. To be honest she hasn’t been.

    I agree that this is all a spectrum, but there is a point at the extreme end of the spectrum where there is a serious health problem. I really think that there is a risk that we muddy the waters and fail to make the distinction between surviving but and serious mental health issues when people really are not surviving.

    Anyway, thanks for this. I have been trying to practise a bit of mindfulness. Pen x #familyfunlinky

    • May 18, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      Thanks for your reflective comment Pen. I’m so sorry to hear about your sister. I think you raise a valid point that sometimes people are on the point where they will only survive with acute medical support and this must not be forgotten. I think that charities like the Mental Health Foundation and Time to Talk promote the idea of a spectrum as a way to get people talking about mental health (and I think this has worked) and to try and avoid the idea that some people dismiss mental health issues as something that would never happen to them or members of their family. Being someone who has been under the care of a psychiatrist for a time in my life I totally understand the idea of ‘barely surviving’ but also find it very helpful not to think in terms of me being clinically depressed…. or not. The idea of a spectrum really helps me. Best wishes to you and your family xx

  8. May 21, 2017 / 8:09 am

    I love that Ruby wax quote and I much prefer the idea of a spectrum than a sliding scale when it comes to our mental health too. #FamilyFun

  9. Wendy
    May 19, 2018 / 8:39 am

    There have definitely been times where I have just been surviving, fighting my way through each day with no enjoyment in life at all. I like to think that I’m somewhere in the middle now, much closer to thriving than simply just surviving though. My gp really recommends mindfulness for helping with mental health xx #thesatsesh

  10. May 19, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    I’d say I’m middling to thriving these days. Must check out that Ruby Wax book 👍

  11. May 19, 2018 / 3:06 pm

    Yes wise words and ruby wax is brilliant books that I have read that are really simple to understand X #thesatsesh

  12. May 19, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    Interesting post! Thriving or surviving makes sense. I think as we progress in life, we all go through times of either one multiple times – it’s like a cycle. Surviving is a good thing because once you’ve learned to survive, the next natural thing is to thrive I think. 😊 #thesatsesh

  13. May 19, 2018 / 9:10 pm

    It is a great concept to me to think of whether one is surviving or thriving. I found this made me feel really positive today as although most days have their challenges with four little kids, when I think about it I would say I am now thriving and it wasn’t that way a couple of years ago. I really must look into mindfulness more as even just thinking about this briefly now really has struck a chord #satsesh

  14. May 19, 2018 / 9:37 pm

    It really does depend. I would hesitate to describe myself as thriving because I feel it would invite a backlash from my self to my self – a built-in expectation that this thriving would end and I might struggle! Make sense? #TheSatSesh

  15. thesingleswan
    May 19, 2018 / 10:29 pm

    I have definitely had times in my life when I have been surviving (just). At the moment I know that I am pushing life too hard. I am working longer hours because I am doing a really interesting job, but it is a very fine balance and sometimes I overdo it. I am on the boundary of thriving and complete burn out. I feel like I am on the edge of a beautiful cliff edge – the scene is brilliant at the moment, but one step in the wrong direction and I will topple over the edge. Pen x #thesatsesh

  16. May 19, 2018 / 11:24 pm

    I will be honest there are days when I am in survival mode but I have a great tribe under me who can support and help. I am thankful for my tribe. #thatsatsesh

  17. May 20, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    It’s always baffled me how people can so easily put physical pain on a scale but mental pain is often pigeonholed into good or poor. So happy to see more people encouraged to look at it as a spectrum. It’s certainly helped me get a better handle on how I’m feeling. #thesatsesh

  18. May 21, 2018 / 9:40 am

    I am almost finished how to be human. I have really enjoyed it. I think that mental health should be gauged on a spectrum like autism and this it isn’t infact a linear scale or process. Wonder what your feelings are on that? Thank you for hosting #thesatsesh

  19. May 23, 2018 / 6:50 pm

    So true that we are all on the spectrum of mental health for we all have minds. Lets look after them #thesatsesh

  20. May 23, 2018 / 8:58 pm

    #thesatsesh THRIVING obvs. This reminds me, I forgot to tell you that i’m currently taking an extra qualification in the evenings at the mo for mental health. The stats say that 1 in 10 suffer from mental health issues, is it me or do you think its way higher? (I realise this stat is based on people that seek help)

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