Will Young on being yourself – and happier…

Mental Health

Covering everything from anxiety to adult children through to needs, self-esteem and work, Will Young has written a brilliant book on wellbeing using his own life experiences as a starting point

There’s real beauty in sharing stories about mental health and wellbeing. Lived experiences shared can provide others with an opportunity to open up too, listen, learn and feel less alone. Hopefully, they’ll be able to take the next step to improve their own wellbeing as a result – even if that step is to simply stop, breathe deeply and take a moment to calm their nervous system.

Will Young’s new book Be Yourself and Happier: The A-Z of Wellbeing is generous when it comes to sharing, covering a raft of mental health and wellbeing subjects as well as Will’s own experiences and proactive education on the topics included, stemming from his breakdown in 2011.

“In this book I am sharing everything I have learnt over a lifetime of trying my damndest to be as content and peaceful as I can be,” he writes. “It’s all the stuff that I’ve tried myself, and that I believe is truly invaluable.”

Read the interview with Will in Issue 62 of Happiful, out on 19 May

Speaking on Happiful’s I am. I have podcast, Will shares his thoughts on…

Being a person

“I often say to people when I’m mentoring them, ‘You’re not a robot, you’re a human being!’ It’s like, I have feelings, I have an identity, I have a character. We’re quick to forget that and invalidate ourselves.”

Garden of life

“I recently noticed I was feeling out of kilter and I started to think about that. I use the Garden of Life analogy, so one bush might be work, another plant is friends, then socialising and sprituality. I thought, I haven’t socialised outside of work for a long time and I must do something about it. Then I realised there was some resistance which I though was interesting too.

“These are the tools and metaphors and that I really do use on a daily basis.”

Humour

“We can laugh with ourselves and that can create empathy. There are lots of things that my mind might come up with that I think, ‘oh that’s so funny that I’d be thinking that today!’

“For me, humour is a great resource, it always has been. It’s also a source of mindfulness. To be humourous is to have a sense of being the observer and that takes us one step back.”

Fear

“I get scared the whole time and I used to berate myself for it. Then I realised through reading and therapy that I’m allowed to be scared. I can be an adult and be scared of things.”

Your inner child

“Talking about the inner child, I sometimes want to retch becuase its such therapy speak! I do like to remain childlike though. My Dad is very childlike and it’s hysterical.

“I’m 43 and I like nothing better than running around with a four year old playing hide and seek, it’s the best thing ever.”

You’re the captain of your ship

“We’re all the captain of our ship and if you’re running a ship, you’re running a lot of different things. You’re always modifying and balancing – constantly. And that’s the way it should be.”

Listen to Will’s episode of I am. I have

Be Yourself and Happier: The A-Z of Wellbeing by Will Young, £14.99, published by Ebury Spotlight, is out now

Lead image by Joseph Sinclair

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