Mind over matter 

I believe every generation has had something to worry about...

Fight, Flight or Fright are all natural human responses to any sudden dangers and/or surprises. Over the past three years, we have had many unexpected changes made to our day-to-day lives. These have been things nobody saw coming, and many of us went into our flight, fright, or fight response, whether we realised it or not. But what have these challenging times really taught us?

They have definitely taught me the importance of self-development, health and wellness, and that in the midst of chaos, everything else becomes meaningless at that moment, and all that matters is YOU. Sometimes, we become so caught up with day-to-day stresses and problems beyond our control, and spend so much time and energy diving into our negative thoughts, those thoughts that make it seem like it’s the end of it all, or we will never come out of this situation. But in reality, nothing is ever permanent.

I like to think of life from the perspective of Yin and Yang

There is good in the bad and bad in the good because it is all about having a balance. So no matter how bad things get, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. But remember, your ‘light’ can come in different tones; it’s all about recognising the change and embracing it.

I have also learned to remember that in the middle of a chaotic situation, you have to weigh out your pros and cons. First, ask yourself if the outcome of this situation is within YOUR control. Is there anything you can do to change it? If the answer is yes, then the next step is to take action. Think about the possibilities and go for it. 

However, if the answer is no, then you have to learn the art of letting go because the reality is, and as harsh as it sounds, that no matter what you do, how much stress you put your mind and body into, the outcome is not in your control.

Learning when to let go and when to seek help is that friend you never knew you needed. When you are sick or have an injury, you seek medical help. Why? Because you know leaving it unattended will only make matters worse or the symptoms last longer. My point is, seeking help for your mental health should be just as urgent and important. Remember, a cluttered mind can’t make clear decisions. That’s like trying to find a pin in a messy room. It becomes almost impossible, but even if you do find it, it takes you much longer and requires a lot more effort and energy.

Getting help and support is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It happens to the best of us. Everyone is going through some sort of struggle, but we all have ways of hiding it or painting over it with a brush. The reality is, no matter how many times you try to repaint a picture, some things are just better dealt with on a fresh canvas.

As someone who is part of Gen Z, this is something of which I’m proud of my generation

We discuss trauma, access therapy when we can, remove ourselves from toxic environments and situations, but most importantly, choose our well-being over negative things, and we choose to speak up.

As a young person, I have grown to realise that being selfish is not as negative as we make it out to be. The term has been used in a negative way; however, being selfish is more about putting oneself first, ensuring that you are okay with whatever is going on around you, and supporting yourself before supporting others. Because I understand you can only pour into someone else’s glass when yours is not empty.

The world is a hard place to be in already, so being nice to yourself is the least you can do to help your mental state and quality of life. Be very mindful of the things you say to yourself, and when things happen, try not to react in a way that you wouldn’t with others. We are so good at supporting and loving other people around us when they need us, but why do we not reciprocate that for ourselves? Why not show ourselves the same support, love, and attention?

As someone who comes from an African background…

There is one ideology that our parents, the community, and society, in general, have on young people, and that is ‘young people should not have any reason to stress because we don’t pay the bills or have anything to worry about.’

Well, this is far from the truth. The fact is, young people today have a lot of things to be concerned about, such as our future being uncertain due to inflation, not being able to afford a home of our own, the education system, cyberbullying and social media expectations, the mental health crisis, dealing with our parents’ trauma that is passed down to us, seeing our younger peers involved in criminal activity from an early age, and the many other toxic things in society, just to name a few.

I believe every generation has had something to worry about, but that does not mean we should look down on others’ struggles in order to make ourselves more relevant. It’s about understanding that the world has changed, and so have people and expectations.

Look for the things you enjoy doing, the things that make you laugh, feel at ease, and allow you to calm your mind. Find that very thing and start to incorporate it into your day-to-day life. Remember that not every battle needs to be won, and not every battle is made to break you. Some are made to strengthen you, and others to teach you a life lesson. Whatever it is, always remember to assess the situation, weigh out the pros and cons before jumping to a conclusion.

Featured image: Good Faces / Unsplash

Harirata Diallo, Community Engagement Executive, Imagen Insights

Harirata (Habzs) is a Community Engagement Executive at Imagen Insights, a Gen Z market research and insights platform and database. Passionate about understanding the current issues that affect young people Habzs has a natural talent for supporting and empowering others to explore their potential

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