There have been many occasions recently to ponder the vague randomness of the universe, to collect my thoughts on various things, to seek out those whose opinions or interests echo my own. It is always nice when your gut feeling is explained or reinforced by experts, and such was the case recently when an opinion piece appeared in The Press (22/4/13).
In 'Dance through disaster's small joys', clinical psychologist Gini McIntosh and psychiatrist Caroline Bell extolled the benefits of appreciating life's little joys - things like humour, exercise, feeling connected, engaging in hobbies, trying new things - as a way to improve coping and wellbeing after a disaster. These were the types of activities or mechanisms utilised by local residents who rated themselves as coping well with the stress of the last 2.5 years.
McIntosh & Bell were commenting on results of a recent survey, conducted as part of a wider mental health campaign called All Right?, in the greater Christchurch area. While many respondents reported that the double-blow of earthquakes and EQC/insurance had made life difficult and that they were struggling to cope with it all, there were some who, despite the adverse effects of the quakes, felt that their lives had been positively impacted overall. It was these people who were more likely to have been engaging in activities with a positive, feel-good factor.
This has long been my theory about going out to see live performances - not just music but also poetry, theatre, comedy, dance and magic shows* - they make you feel happy to be alive, whatever the circumstances are outside, beyond the venue doors. Just like a good book, a live show can take you to a different place, enabling you to lose yourself in the moment while sharing it with those around you.
*all this and more have taken place just this year at the darkroom bar