My interest in mental health began with seeing my students at university struggle with anxiety and by a series of fortunate decisions and connections, I was able to introduce resilience education into the curriculum of a range of undergraduate courses at the University of Plymouth (see Leadership and Resilience Education for All).
What I learned during that time about resilience and mental health is now embedded in my own life and filters into my work with young people, whether aboard a tall ship or on land. Occasionally, I come across thoughts about mental health that are worth sharing, and this article by Professor Patricia Riddell published in The Conversation is one of them.
Prof Riddell addresses the tendency of many of us to create negative stories in our heads about future events – when we imagine all the things that can go wrong with a job interview, or a date, or a presentation we will give, or an exam, or … – something that is called ‘catastrophising‘.
Helpfully, she explains how catastrophising can work against us and provides four strategies to get out of its grip.
Planning for scenarios that might go wrong is what we do on a daily basis to keep us safe. As a rational process, we may call it risk assessment. When the emotional part of our brain takes over, it is helpful to think that the past is not the future. but may well be a key to it.
If you are affected, check out the article and make up a better story for yourself!