Mental Health

The Happy News

One of the many things that stresses me out is the news. The news is almost always bad news, about death and war and climate change and illnesses etc etc. For a time, I had to stop myself from even reading/watching/listening to it – I just couldn’t cope. I have always had a tendency to take the problems of the world on as if they were mine alone to deal with. This means I easily get overwhelmed from one or two scary news stories. In Matt Haig’s book, ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ (basically my bible), he talks about how it is okay to take a step back from the news and it has massively helped me in taking a kinder approach to myself and my relationship with the news. Although I have got a lot better at reasoning with news stories now, it’s healthy for me to remind myself of all the good that is going on in the world.

I came across ‘The Happy Newspaper‘ about a year ago and after buying one on a stall in Manchester and reading it all in one sitting, I decided to subscribe to receive them every quarter. Every 3 months I come home every day hoping it has turned up. It brings me such joy to read about all the lovely people in the world and restores my hope for the world. Each issue is based around a theme (for example balance or joy) which ties the whole paper together and offers helpful advice around the topic. Another reoccurring page is the ‘Dear Casper’ page – a letter of advice to ‘Casper’ from his ‘mum’, giving general life advice to all its readers based on the theme of the edition. Some more light hearted pages include recipes or positive quotes! One of the lovely things about The Happy Newspaper is the ‘Everyday Heroes’ section, in which readers of the newspaper can nominate people in their lives who they think are heroes for any reason personal to them. Heart-warming nominations include family members who mean a lot to them, friends who have faced great personal battles and people who are positive contributors in their community. Excerpts from the December 2018 issue include ‘A bubble of energy and light – she never fails to put a smile on your face’ and ‘Eric is my 2-year-old doggy and he’s just started visiting care homes as a friendship dog’.

There is also a ‘showbiz’ section which talks about all the good that celebrities have done over the past few months – which can help make you feel less cynical about the celeb world when it can feel like we are always faced with their mistakes or problems. For example, French footballer Kylian Mbappe donated all of his World Cup earnings to a charity which helps disabled and hospitalised children remain in sports and activities! Many celebs have been reaching out to the public about their mental health problems or raising awareness generally – Lady Gaga, along with the Director General of the World Health Organisation, wrote an open letter to The Guardian in support of suicide prevention and Rizzle Kicks’ Jordan Stephens founded the #IAMWHOLE mental health campaign to further raise awareness for mental health issues.

One of the topics which is always in the news and makes me feel powerless is climate change. The happy newspaper helps remind me that positive things are happening to counter and resist climate change, such as a global team of scientists discovering the map of the wheat genome, one step further in developing more efficient and sustainable methods of wheat production to meet growing demands across the world. Another similar story is the ‘Plastic Bank’ developed in Haiti which allows plastic to be exchanged for cash or goods and services for those in poverty.

The writer encourages readers to pass on their newspapers once they are done with them so that more good news can be spread. Personally, I give mine to any friends who are interested and once they are finished I cut them up and turn them into posters or collages!

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