This article was written by Caroline Lambie, a humanist celebrant with Humanists UK and the London coordinator of the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network.
Humanist Celebrant at Humanists UK and London Coordinator of the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network
I was having a walk with a friend today. You know, those Covid walks where you can meet up with one person and have a chat. This new way of socialising – one that encourages you out of your home into the cold, wintery weather to converse and connect and pontificate about the meaning of life. We’re all at it – if we are able, if we are well.
With everyone’s mental health teetering on the edge, in a forced oppressive situation, this act of conversation and interaction helps keep us mentally well. Yet when we get back home, if we are not dealing with illness or death, we are proclaiming: “it could be worse”. And we push down our feelings of suffocation and try to forget that so much is out of our control.
My friend, on this C19 walk, brought Aristotle’s notion into our conversation about our current state of being: “happiness is based on friendship, but you need to be a friend to yourself first.”
Aristotle’s theory includes: “Happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence. Happiness depends on acquiring a moral character, where one displays the virtues of courage, generosity, justice, friendship, and citizenship in one's life.”
What can we take from this?
You will be happy if you have good friendships and are good to others, but only if you are also a good friend to yourself.
Find out more about Caroline on her website.
Good Thinking provides a range of resources to support your mental health, including NHS-approved wellbeing apps, expert advice and podcasts. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or sad, you might find the following useful:
Five ways to good mental wellbeing (article)
How to connect with nature to boost your wellbeing (article)
Why a micropause can help your mental health today (podcast)