“The world is falling apart around us and I’m dying inside”
Moira Rose , Schitt’s Creek
In a world that appears as if it’s falling apart, with the apocalyptic horizon of climate change, the unrest of a chaotic political landscape and a, maybe soon to be declared, pandemic I think we all might be feeling a bit like Moira Rose.
So I decided to help us start the new year/new decade with a healthier dose of optimism.
Reasons to Be Cheerful
“I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, "Oh no!" Often I’m depressed for half the day”.
That’s David Byrne, the dynamic front man of the 1980’s rock band Talking Heads. He spent two years gathering uplifting news stories as a kind of therapy which lead him to create a good news website.
The result, the nonprofit online magazine Reasons to Be Cheerful (named after the Ian Dury song), aims to be a “tonic for tumultuous times”--Part Magazine, part therapy session, part blueprint for a better world.
The focus on developments that have been proven to be successful is not isolated to one culture, but gathers bits of encouraging news that might enrich your own life or community. As much as I love a lucky puppy getting adopted, don’t expect to find such puff pieces here.
Medicine for global mental health. Take two weekly or as many as needed.
One recent article, “Everybody Needs a Home”, asked the question what would happen if the first step towards solving homelessness was to give people someplace to live?
Various cities and even some countries are adopting what’s called the Housing First model.
Reversing conventional wisdom that the way you solve homelessness is to get people jobs, which gets them money, which gets them homes, it posits that getting them homes has to be the first step. This approach has inspired folks all over the world to rethink what is possible.
Between 2016 and 2018, Regina, Canada, saved $2.2 million with a Housing First approach… and that’s from providing housing for only 49 homeless people! As reported by the CBC, the program pays just over $18,000 per client per year to keep them housed, but saves the government millions in policing, hospital and detox costs.
Bad News is Bad for Your Health
Closer to home GlobalGoodness, is the first Canadian web based media dedicated to the impacts of positive news. Their tag line: The World Is Better Than You Think!
Laurent Imbault, professional actor, director and producer, founded GobalGoodness in 2009 after a conversation with his 92 year old mother who was in assisted living. She said she didn’t see hope in the world anymore.
He realized her only contact with the world was through media – especially TV-- where negative news tends to overshadow everything else.
“We live in a world where there are mostly good people doing good things so I wanted to show the good that people are doing.”
Their vision: “to be an accelerator of change, a place of conversation and exchange aimed mainly at stimulating action”.
The human brain is not designed to quickly digest all the bad news day after day. For an average person, that’s way too much to handle.
News consumption is not just a mental process. It’s affecting our bodies as well as our minds, so it is critical to keep taking doses of quality information on a regular basis. That way, you can create a balance between the two opposites and improve the overall health condition.
Life is better when you’re laughing
Finally, whoever said laugher is the best medicine was absolutely right. When I can’t take it any more I turn to Randy Rainbow, a political commentator who dresses in sequins, feather boas and pink cat eye glasses.
Well known for his politically charged parody videos, Randy Rainbow joins Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Trevor Noah and Bill Maher, who have all become as influential as the Walter Cronkites and David Brinkleys of yore.
"The Randy Rainbow Show," features brilliant song parodies about the foibles of the current administration. He borrows the melodies of show tunes and pop hits and writes original lyrics.
One of my favourites is when he took the melody of the Mary Poppins’ Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and turned it into a Trump song titled "Super Callous Fragile Egocentric Braggadocious."
His satire is about “connecting with people who can’t accept the craziness and cruelty they’re seeing.”
His audience, both Democrats and Republicans, realize there just comes a time when you can’t take politics all that seriously. You have to laugh.
In the words of Porky Pig ---- That’s all Folks!