The “Ideal Mental Mindset”

(Above photo: ELBA’s two work experience students from Goresbrook School, Joyce (left) and Rihanna (right).)

During Mental Health Awareness Week, the Challenge:ELBA team were joined by two work experience students. We asked them to write about what mental health means to them. This piece is written by Joyce Anthony:

Hi. My name is Joyce and I go to Goresbrook School. I am currently in Year 10, and I am studying English, Maths, French, Geography, Triple Science and PE. I love to play netball for my school, and I am pushing myself to also do it outside of school for summer. I love to listen to music to release any stress and to let my mind wander into many places – like escaping from reality. I love my friends because I think that, whether we like it or not, we all need someone to talk to. Even if it is just a teacher at school, or your mum at home, we all need someone. And my “someone” is my friends – someone who is my age, is going through the same stress as me, that can be there to help me, and I do the same back. I also love to travel and explore the world because there is a lot to see in the outside world, which is made for us to explore – whether that be going to a different country or just into Central London. I live and breathe for academic validation because I always try to push myself to do the best and be the best, to live a life full of luxury.

All the things I have listed have something in common. They all require mental wellbeing and good health. But sometimes maintaining steady, healthy mental well-being can be hard. There is a lot of stuff we end up balancing in life that outweighs that healthy mental state. Take me, for example, I have GCSEs approaching me very soon, pressure from parents and teachers of my expected grades, pressure of getting into a good sixth form, fear of failure – the list goes on. But what is mental health? Let me get the actual definition for you. Mental health is a person’s condition regarding their psychological and emotional well-being. But mental health does not have an exact definition. It can be anything you want it to be. For example, for me good mental health is good music, good food and good friends. Mental health has no limit, just as we humans should not have. No limits. But let us go back. What is mental health to you? Is it a challenging thing to balance? Is it your fault or someone else’s?

I am going to tell you a little story – maybe two – about how diet and exercise benefited my life throughout my life. Let us start with netball. From the age of 11, I started netball. Mr. Thompson. A teacher that went to my primary school told me to join netball and I jumped at the opportunity not knowing anything about it. From 3pm – 5pm, even in the winter, I stayed at school perfecting my netball skills and instantly I fell in love. And so, I continued it in Year 7. And Year 8. And Year 9. And now Year 10, where my netball team is 2nd in the borough for the under 16’s league. Ok, let us go a bit further back into my life. I used to be so obsessed with High School Musical. I even used to think I was in it and used to sing all the songs. And then one day my dad got me a High School Musical bike. I was so happy. Obviously, I fell a couple times – Ok a lot of times but that is not the point. It really pushed me to learn more about how to function the bike. Anyways, fast forward like 8 years later I never touched a bike again until my dad bought a new one and my dad forced my sisters and I to try to ride the bike again and so we did. I felt like my young self again, falling many times but still getting up. And so now every Saturday for an hour I take my little sister to ride our bikes. Now, I did not just waste your time talking about my High School Musical bike and my endless journey of netball throughout my secondary years. I told you these stories to tell you one thing. Perseverance. You may give up on having that “ideal mental health”, but it will never give up on you – just how the bike did not give up on me. The real question is are you willing to go all the way for that “ideal mental health” or are you just going to be like Joyce and wait 8 years for the bike to come back just to put in the effort? Perseverance. Take care and do not wait. “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t” – John Green. Hope is an endless cycle that never dies out. Once you have it, no one – and I mean no one, not even your brain – can take it away from you.

I recently arranged to undertake work experience at East London Business Alliance (ELBA) and on the first day, all my colleagues had lunch together. It felt weird at first. Me being me, I always want to eat by myself and just watch a show on my phone. But then it reminded me. We all need someone. Someone to lean on. Someone to talk to. Someone to love. Now let me give you a proper introduction. Hi. My name is Joyce. For many years, I have been struggling to have that “ideal mental health mindset.” I love to overthink and fear failure. But that is what simply makes me who I am. Speaking to some of the ELBA staff has really made me feel like I am not alone – that there is always someone else going through stuff I am going through. Now think of yourself. Mental health is a person’s condition regarding their psychological and emotional well-being. Mental health has no limit, just as we humans should not have. No limits. What is mental health to you?

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