I’ve got to admit I’m a sucker for an inspirational quote. Any cheesy line inspires me – even better if it rhymes or is embarrassingly alliterative.
Most quotes I hear don’t stick with me very long, and I’ve got to admit that inspiring lines telling me to ‘learn to let go of things you can’t control’ soon fall by the wayside as soon as deadlines pile up and I start to get stressed out.
But there’s one line that I often find myself repeating: ‘Life is all about perspective.’ It doesn’t rhyme and there isn’t even any alliteration – it’s actually quite boring as far as quotes go.
But every day it reminds me that there is always more than one way of looking at a situation. Charity shows like Children in Need tend to bring up such a feeling for me – a realisation of just how lucky I am to be where I am now.
We are lucky to be living in a generation where mental health and personal struggle is far less of a taboo subject, and as a society we are beginning to feel more able to discuss our vulnerabilities in ways which would have been unthinkable just 50 years ago.
This is undoubtedly fantastic and reminds us of the struggles and perspectives of others. With an increase in technology and circulation of the worrying idea that we might actually be becoming more disconnected as a result of our phones – as opposed to the intended opposite – we should celebrate the fact that we have this new depth to our emotional connections that was previously viewed as taboo
. Yet, as with anything, I believe it comes with its problems. It does seem at the moment that the parts of the world we see on the news are truly depressing, especially concerning mental health.
It seems like people have a lot to complain about now that they feel more able to share – and forget that there is also lots to celebrate. The point I’m trying to make is this: remember that just because we hear lots of negativity, there is plenty of good going on in the world too.
Simply on a personal level, I feel unbelievably lucky that I’m at this amazing university and that I walk around a town that has 600 years of academic history to profit from. It’s easy to feel bogged down by negativity at university – both from the ‘outside world’ and from the stresses of the bubble itself. But I try to remember that when I feel stressed out or overwhelmed, I’m amazingly lucky to be here.
Try to reconnect with St Andrews if stress makes you feel like you want to catch the next bus from it and never return! Go down to the beach, visit the cathedral, remember why it is you chose our sleepy little town as your home away from home.
As much as I am an impassioned believer that mental health is an absolute priority and deserves to be discussed as much as possible, I also believe that as we feel freer to talk, we forget to mention all the positives too. I remind myself to feel grateful, that my problems are a matter of perspective, which viewed from another angle don’t seem that major after all.
That isn’t to ever diminish anything, it’s just to explore the idea that life is all about perspective, and trying to take a positive one wherever you can adds more colour to life. It won’t always happen – it certainly doesn’t for me – but I really believe that positivity can sometimes make a huge difference.