Category Archives: Mental Health

5 Songs that have addressed mental health (part 2)

Around a year ago I wrote about 5 songs that I like that have addressed mental health (https://lifeistoo.sport.blog/2019/03/13/5-songs-that-have-addressed-mental-health/) and because of the good feedback around it, I have decided to follow up with a part 2.

Real Friends – From The Outside

‘From the outside’ is a single from the Illinois outfit Real Friend’s third studio album. This is the second RF song to feature in this series of articles, after ‘Short song’ in part one. RF are excellent band that makes me feel so many emotions, particiularly in their earlier raw material, but also with their more refined sound. It is a shame that ‘From the outside’ is one of the last few songs with original vocalist Dan Lambton. I believe this song may be involved with Dan’s struggles with bipolar disorder. It shows that how easy is it to hide and mask our feelings from one another, and that we may not be as fine as we portray ourselves to be. ‘I’ll fill my glass to take the edge off. The choice is mine’ in the pre-chorus shows how dangerous it can be though to be alone with our own thoughts. I feel that the message here is to communicate when you’re feeling down and have more empathy with those feeling down, to understand that people may be feeling differently.

Neck Deep – The Beach Is For Lovers (Not Lonely Losers)

I feel so old that this album is five years old later this year. I’ve loved this band for long before this LP and this, their second album is an excellent continuation of their popular pop punk sound. The song itself to me seems like a mix of emotions… “Don’t wait until you’re just like me. To look back over history with nothing but regret.” The singer is being told not to be stuck in the past which implies he is burdened and dwelling with his past regrets. “So all my friends say “F*** forever. Live today and die together.” We don’t wanna tell the same sad story. Heard it all before and that’s f***ing boring” There is an apparent need to move beyond these regrets so that he is a healthy and proactive lifestyle with a healthy future. This is important so that we do not have any regrets about our lives before its too late.

Sudden Suspension – We’ll Always Have Each Other


I’d like to think that this Canadian band has a clear-cut message behind this 3 and a half minute piece of emotional pop punk. When we are feeling low it is easy to think it cannot get better, and sometimes we don’t want to be around others and end up isolating from people we love dearly. This is so dangerous as it can be too easy to get into such a bad habit, and harder to get out of it. There are so many relatable lyrics in this song but one of my favourites is “Just don’t forget to pretend that it gets better than this”. Whatever storm you are facing right now, generally the worst of it is over, and whilst we have the comfort of each other, the sun can shine a little brighter on us.

Linkin Park – Heavy

Chester Bennington was a great person who wrote many special songs and his legacy lives on forever. His struggles with mental health were very evident throughout Linkin Park’s long tenure as one of the most influential nu metal/alt rock bands. ‘One More Light’ their most recent album which features this song, is packed with emotional pieces that documents Chester’s strong feelings and struggles. ‘Heavy’ resembles a difficulty in overcoming the struggles that comes with anxiety and depression

Pale Waves – Noises

‘My mind makes noises’ is the debut album of Mancunian indie pop band Pale Waves. I would say that the album is fantastic and one of my favourites. It features a lot of sad and emotional lyrics but portrayed in a very upbeat way due to the catchy choruses. This song specifically targets mental health and body insecurity. ‘My mind makes noises too much I feel like I’m slowly losing myself I’m afraid that I need help’ shows what an exhausting feeling anxiety and depression can have on a person. We see problems and insecurities in ourselves that only we may see. It is exhausting and cause one to spiral out of course. We must be kinder to each other and offer reassurance. But from personal experience with self-esteem issues I feel the best way is to develop it by having healthy hobbies and coping mechanisms, whilst removing any toxic energy from your life. It really is the first step to getting better as with better self-esteem and company I make much better decisions.

I hope you have enjoyed part two to this. Please share in the comments some songs about mental health that you like or think are important. Please also let me know if you would like to see a part 3.

Back to reality and adapting to the pandemic

It has been around five weeks now since I arrived back in Malmö after my amazing skiing trip to Tänndalen. However, a lot has changed with this pandemic, which means this period of my study abroad is extra significant. It is a time where so much change happened and one I will never forget, for a vast range of reasons.

Before the trip I was very consumed with finishing my work, settling into Swedish lifestyle, making friends and the trip I was most terrified about. What I was at the time sure of was that if I could do all of this and manage well, on the other side of the skiing trip I had an amazing few spring and summer months of exploration ahead of me. This unexpectedly changed what with, most of the people I had gotten to know being forced home sadly, before I could truly get to know them. As well as the deep concern about travelling, as I am avoiding public transport (walking everywhere is very tiring since I cannot cycle).

I find myself very depressed that a time I was so excited for, and worked so hard for, changed so abruptly. What I find even more difficult is that Sweden is taking a very unique approach to handling the corona virus with no real enforced lock down, so to speak. I decided to stay here in Sweden as at the time I felt it was the safer option to do, and out of respect for others and to protect myself, I am near enough living as though there is a lockdown. I generally only go out when I need to and I am distancing myself from others.

I am fortunate enough to still be on my study abroad experience but I am also devastated that it is and won’t be how I always dreamed of it. For now I am unable to travel around Sweden as I intended to, and I am generally limited to wherever I can walk to right now. I am still enjoying the parks which Malmö has in abundance. I wish now I hadn’t spent so much time enjoying them in the winter months though and instead moved around the country more and explored more.

I’m not a person who agrees with having regrets, but even with this unplanned pandemic I am scared I will have had too many. For now I am grateful I was able to have the wonders of the skiing trip… which was once my biggest fear, could now be my greatest experience.

Thinking positively – My strengths and yours?

In a time like this (what with COVID-19 and all), I feel that rather than focusing on the negatives, it is important to think and talk about our strengths as a person. Since this can become a difficult time for many, I want to share some of my strengths in this article to get ‘the ball rolling’ but I am desperate to hear yours too in the comments section!

Perseverance

This is an interesting one because I don’t usually like to take on a challenge that I am unlikely to be able to complete. But, when I do something I stick it at until I am satisfied with what I have done. For instance the Skiing I have mentioned previously (https://lifeistoo.sport.blog/2020/03/24/my-week-of-skiing-in-tanndalen-sweden/) that took a lot out of me… I had to set realistic goals for myself and avoid comparing myself to others: this was so that I could focus on challenges unique to me that I could achieve and be proud of. I also feel that this is a great way to persevere and in the face of adversity, as the goal is SMART. It also means that most of the time I can surpass my expectations which provides me with a good feeling.

Self-motivation, determination, hard-working

These are closely linked with perseverance as I have used this strength for a while now, and needed it more than ever to get my study abroad opportunity. I was faced with alternative assignments and more work than I could ever manage. While I was doing it I did worry that it would be too much for me and whether it would be worth it. I even thought that if I knew it was going to be like this originally then I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity. But I am so glad ‘I didn’t know’ because I would not trade my experiences for anything. I had to work what felt like all day, every for a month. There was so much to do there was no time to let motivation slip, I had to be determined 24/7 which was tough… But by building on what was already a strength for me and thinking of what life was to be had in the future gave me an end goal to work towards.

Self-esteem

This may not be where I fully would like it to be, but one I have worked extremely hard towards. I think being around the right crowd and surrounding yourself with supportive people is pivotal to improving self-esteem. I cannot speak for everyone but this is how it has happened for me at least. I feel that is when it possible to understand the extent of the old saying ‘you attract the energy that you give off’. It is so easy to get tangled up in a web where you think you can do no better, but sometimes you have to make bold decisions and cut ties to grow effectively. Taking risks is key and knowing your self worth, so that you can respect yourself more to allow and maintain good people in your life.

This is just a short snapshot of a few of what I feel are my strengths right now. I would love for you to use the comment section to share yours too.

Looking after your mental health (During Covid-19)

This period of uncertainty can be extremely detrimental on ones mental health, as many peoples social or working lives are torn apart for god knows how long. During this difficult time it is easy to slip into bad habits so I wanted to discuss some of the coping mechanisms I’ve been using, and maybe others that I should be using too.

Fresh air / exercise – This is my personal favourite. If you are able to exercise in a safe and distancing way outside then I highly recommend it. I like that people are keeping fit at home but use your time outside of isolation wisely regarding exercise! A simple walk or run around a park by yourself is extremely peaceful and gives you some quiet time to cool off whilst appreciating the nature.

Reconnect with old hobbies or formulate new ones – This is another thing I spend a bit of time on now as it can sometimes feel like the clock is moving too slowly. Games are an excellent way to consume time and you can even connect with your friends over them. I’ve been playing Runescape to connect with my old hobbies but also more recently trying out Football Manager 2020 that has been free! This is the most time consuming game I’ve ever come across so I really recommend it if you’re into football!

Speak to people – This may seem like common sense but with the constant reminder of self-isolation, I personally know how easy it is to ‘over-isolate’ if you wish. If you’re like me and like to keep busy, it can be a bit depressing when you’re not interacting and stuck in a front of a screen. Your flat mates or family are close by, so there is no need to be making unnecessary outings either. Talk to them about how you are feeling and maybe even share coping mechanisms to manage this pandemic better.

Learn new things – Such as learning to cook a new meal or cross stitch. Absolutely anything! When will you ever get so much free time again in your life? It doesn’t have to be a terrible thing, if you can learn to spend your time wisely. Let this be the opportunity that you come out of your comfort zone and try new things. Maybe you will even become more confident and comfortable in your own company too.

Try not to dwell on the issue and instead make the best out of it. It is not ideal but it doesn’t mean that you still can’t have fun. You just have to be smart and safe. For example, I have been keeping my distance and enjoying the parks to myself. It is nice to find a balance between this and other aspects in this post that are inside such as gaming or stitching.

Finally, I would like to hear your coping strategies! Please do share in the comments.

Daylio – an application to benefit mental health through mood tracking.

My friend showed me an app called Daylio which is basically used as a mood tracker. You rate your overall feeling of the day through one of five emoji on a ‘rad to awful’ scale. You can click different activities that you’ve done that day, which takes seconds. If you have more time you can even fill in a little diary.

The diary may take a little more time but to me it is the most beneficial aspect. I can pinpoint exactly what went well on a day (or even a week) if I’m struggling to see the positives. I can then also link it to the activities that I’ve done such as ‘sport or ‘cleaning’. These activities act as indicators for how the day went, as the app makes a connection between the two.

From there you could potentially take up a certain activity more if you notice that it is contributing to better days. For instance if a lot of your good days involve sport then perhaps you look to do more physical activity. But obviously this is hard to assess if sport is something that you constantly do. So for me, it could still be a ‘meh’ day for instance.

There are also ten achievements available to motivate you to keep filling it out. You can set your phone to remind you and if you’re still busy the apps allows you to add entries days later. This is helpful as you may forget or run out of time to do so. Overall it is a very helpful app and it is free. It counts your activities and adds up all your different feelings from different days. This can be great for reassurance and also help you in the right direction to get better

5 Songs that have addressed mental health.

Mental health has become more prevalent throughout the lyrical content of various artists. Mental health conditions such as depression affects approximately 300 million people (WHO, 2018). The openess of these artists to share their personal experiences can become inspiring and influential for others. The lyrics can give anyone the ability to identify with what is being said, and that they do not have to be alone with their own thoughts. There is also the healthy outlet for aggression, where for just a few minutes you would feel better shouting and screaming the words that you are struggling to pen down and speak. Because music can provide this healthy outlet, it is important to look at some of the songs that are contributing to this outspoken approach.

Paramore – Fake Happy

” I feel so fake happy, and I bet everybody here, is just as insincere, we’re all so fake happy, and I know fake happy” sings Hayley Williams, on track 5 of Paramore’s latest album After Laughter. Mental health can be a difficult thing to confront for ourselves, before even thinking about discussing it with another. It can become too easy to bottle up our genuine feelings and instead portray a completely different persona. What is important to remember is to stay true to ourselves and accept that is okay to not be okay.

Patent Pending – One Less Heart To Break

One Less Heart To Break, which was originally released on 2010 EP ‘I’m Not Alone’, is a song that addresses depression and suicide. The message shows that it is important to know that you can rise from your negative feelings and that things can get better in your life. “Just stay with me through one more night, because it’s always darkest before the light” gives hope through the dark times. Not everything in life in written for us and we can write our own destiny. Sometimes we just have to ride the wave, and come out stronger. Life is a process and we can all have a frustrating day, but we are all capable of pulling through.

As It Is – The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) The song by the Brighton 5 piece targets the societal pressures that are placed on males. In the first verse, American born pop punk vocalist, Patty Walters sings “Just close your eyes and bite your tongue for now, don’t let them see you fall”. The stigma surrounding the gender stereotype of males is that they must be tough and strong . Expression emotions can therefore be difficult as men can be discouraged in order to meeet these gender norms. The song stands for transgressing against these societal pressures, so that their popular fanbase can feel comfortabe with their emotions.

All Time Low – Therapy

Vocalist Alex Gaskarth told Teen TV that “Therapy” is about every kids’ nightmare. When people are telling you to get help, but all you really want is a hug. His passion in this song is evident as the intensity of his voice increases throughout. The issue with therapy is that not everyone is ready to confront their feelings. In the chorus, “Therapy, I’m a walking travesty but I’m smiling at everything” hints that it may not work for everybody, whilst others may need reassurance and support. The most reassuring thing can be developing this rapport with someone, so that they can help facilitate one anothers succees and wellbeing.

Real Friends – Short Song

I could have mentioned a range of songs but I decided to go with one of my personal favourites from the Illinois pop punk / emo outfit. The song is under 2 minutes long but within this time packs an emotional punch. In the track Dan Lambton screams “And in life we’re gonna cry, In life we’re gonna lose sleep, We’re gonna feel helpless but thats how its got to be”. In similar vain to ‘One Less Heart to Break’, Real Friends illustrate that we can face troubles that we must come out stronger from. Perserving in the face of adversity is a pivital component of this, as we strive for success. Despite the sleepness nights and tears, this is not forever and we can come out stronger.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this. Let me know in the comments what you thought and if I should do a part 2. I have loads more songs I would love to share with you. Remember to look after your mental health at all times and keep going. I’m so proud of you.



5 tips for improving your mental health.

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Mental health is an important aspect of an individuals well-being, that must be cared for thoroughly. Particularly throughout work and education, which I believe as a university student myself can fluctuate quite quickly. Therefore a lot of this will be based around that context, as I share five things (there are countless more options that work for different people) that personally help me or could help others in being healthy.

  1. Exercise – Regardless of ability or fitness level, the intensity can be adapted to suit the indiviudal. It is easy to stress when caught up in a great workload, but even walking outside (in hopefully bright sunshine) can be enough to take your mind off of whats troubling you. This can also be done with a friend to offer a social aspect and motivation, so you avoid becoming buried in your textbooks experiencing burnout.

2. Diary / Mood tracker – If like me, you can struggle to see the positives of a day sometimes, then downloading an app such as ‘daylio’ can be an excellent method of logging and assessing your days. You can rate your days with one click of an emoji, click what activities you did in the day and write notes. It logs it all so anytime you’re questioning yourself, you can go back and view what you did well.

3. Music – Sometimes as much as we enjoy socialising, we just need to be on our own for a while to recover and recharge. This is perfectly okay and music can come in different genres to suit your different moods. When I’m in a good mood I tend to listen to indie rock or pop music, anything catchy enough to spark my attention. Whereas when you’re down in the dumps, perhaps ‘sad’ or uplifting songs can give you hope through relating to the lyrics.

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4. Speak up – If you’re speaking to the right people then they will be happy to help you, but to do this you must help yourself first. It is okay not to be okay and the first step is communicating. This can be tough but relieving when you find that special person who understands you. Bottling up your feelings will lead to them eventually pouring out. So whenever it gets a little too much, take a step back and reflect, then reach out. You do not have to face anything alone.

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5. Try new activities – Try not to get stuck in your comfort zone. We all love it for a reason! But it’s so healthy to branch out and try new things, you may even meet new people. I try to be as open minded but I do admit some things can be a stretch too far (such as me having to do Dance with absolutely no skill whatsoever), so it can help you if its in an area you are somewhat familiar with. For me this is sport and exercise, which has numerous societies where you can meet new people with a common interest. These societies also exist for non sport too, and I seriously joining at least one if you can.