Italy’s Roar

Italy’s Roar:

Every country or area in a country has their own sounds, smells, tastes, traditions, colours, cultures, styles or narratives. Everyone perceives and enjoys these connections differently.

We usually wake up in Italy with the sound of roaring laughter. Children, young people as well as adults of all ages laughing together, often not long after sunrise.

We can learn from Italy’s laughter. Laughter, togetherness and enjoyment, as separate items, but also together, benefit general health and mental health to very a significant degree.

We can also learn from Italy’s focus on beauty, children, communities and food. Everyone, from the fisherman to the mega yacht owner eats the same quality food – excellent food (see recent tweet regarding fish market / shop in Genoa – wait to see fresh fish prepared in the old traditional way – worth a trip – but go early).

Much energy is spent on making the environment or setting beautiful, which gives powerful messages. Music is played, table cloths and candles are ready – “making things beautiful is how we look after yourselves and each other – it means we care”.

We are inspired by Italy’s and Genoa’s many outreach projects for vulnerable individuals – the focus is often on education, learning skills and being part of a healthy community. In Cape Town in the 1990’s – all mental health patients well enough, in one of the main mental health hospitals, were taught a trade or skill such as planting vegetables or basic farming skills, so that when they are discharged (often after months or years), they have opportunities of employment, which help to contribute to a sense of achievement, meaning and being part of a community, which help with confidence and relationships, general health and mental health. These factors, from education to employment, also lead to less poverty and less crime. Most things are connected and the solutions are seldom complicated; solutions often start with education and empowerment – sustainable solutions leading to independence. Giving is not giving unless the goal is sustainable independence.

Simple things often make the greatest difference for adults and children with health or without health difficulties.

We are frequently asked what our thoughts are regarding happiness, general health, mental health, mental state and children – for vulnerable children and adults – and also for privileged and healthy children and adults. The answers are not different.

We will share some thoughts regarding these topics and the effects of for instance music, food, the environment, cognitions, emotions, behaviours and physiological changes such as breathing in future postings. Medical doctors, surgeons, professional athletes and many others use these simple techniques to achieve goals and to inspire or maintain calm or a positive mood.

Many medical colleagues, professionals, patients and families report that they currently “find it challenging to be calm, positive or hopeful or go on with life during this time” and have asked for general thoughts. We recommend that you speak to your GP if you have concerns about yourself or anyone else without delay – getting a general check up or screen in terms of general health and mental health has never been a better idea than now during this time. If you have the ‘all clear’ from your GP – there are many options to consider to move forward – different approaches will work for different people.

Many children and colleagues report that there is nothing more important than having a dream, a goal, a plan – and moving towards it – slowly – whilst enjoying every step of the way.

Where to start – some thoughts:

Step 1 – Be inspired – find a topic or interest that moves or inspires you – that you are very enthusiastic about – it might be Italy, food, sailing, surfing, tango, salsa, working with animals, playing the saxophone, speaking French, horse riding, performance driving, motorcars, travelling, gardening, photography – anything. If at first you cannot think of anything go on an explore adventure phase – read books, magazines, visit forums or webpages, arrange experiences such as sailing or golfing or spending time in nature or with animals – enjoy the explore phase to find something that moves you… there is no rush and ‘pressure’ will sometimes prevent you from reaching this goal or delay the process. Think about what you enjoyed when younger or what you would like to remember as part of your life when you are older. Try to avoid ‘tick box’ items or ‘what looks good on paper or to friends’ – you have to be moved by it – you alone – for yourself. This might be the second most important stage. You can start step 1 at any age.

Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm. Paele

Step 2 – Spend time reading or researching this topic – enjoy every moment. You do not have to leave your home for this stage. Do not rush this stage.

Step 3 – Surround yourself with items related to the topic – a theme – for instance if your topic is Italy find suitable music, food, clothing or images. Do not rush this stage.

I have overcome nightmares due to my dreams. Salk

Step 4 – Pause – ensure you are enjoying the previous stages. Dream. There is no rush. Take it slow. Life is a game of inches. Slow progress is often good and sustainable progress. These 4 stages are protective factors for general and mental health, and positives in a life and should be enjoyable and relaxing.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. Nietzsche

Step 5 – Prep – start the preparation phase. Think about what you would like to achieve, what you hope to gain from it, why, how it will look like, feel like, as much detail as possible, think about when you want to achieve the first phase or the goal and how. Take it slow – achievable is good. This stage, if completed effectively, will guide and aid the next stage, as the foundation for where the house (plan) will be developed and built.

Everything worthwhile in life takes hard work. Diamonds are only chunks of coal who stuck to their jobs. Smith

Step 6 – Plan – start drawing up a plan – on paper. Read and research thoroughly. Consider risks, weather patterns, training, tools and equipment required. Speak to people with similar interests, professionals and experts. You might meet interesting people. This is the most important stage. Ask for second or third opinions regarding your drawn up plan and goals, as well as thoughts on your progress. This stage is lengthy, as it often takes a long time to develop a good plan, based on information gathered, and to complete required training, learn skills and collect tools. Enjoy this stage. Don’t rush it – rushing this stage will mean a less likely chance of success or achieving your goals.

There is no shortcuts to any place worth going. Sills

Step 7 – Jump – believe in yourself knowing you have prepared and planned well, that you have people at hand to ask for advice if need be, a safety net, and that you will enjoy the ‘getting to the destination’ as much as you have enjoyed the first 6 steps and the destination itself. Don’t give up. Adapt and adjust your sails. Know you should and will never stop learning.

Hold on, hold fast, hold out, patience is genius. Comte de Buffon

There is never a rush – as long as you keep moving forward slowly. Remember good and sustainable progress is often 3 steps forward, 1-2 steps back – that is how we learn, that is how we grow and achieve our goals.

Nothing great is created suddenly. Epictetus

Every one of these 7 steps are protective factors for general health and mental health.

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