The 21 Day Mental Health Challenge, Day 1: Children and Grandmothers


I wanted to start my first challenge day with some research on positive psychology-the field of psychology involved in studying happiness-so I went straight to the experts on this subject: my own children. Below is an excerpt of my interview with them.

What makes you happy?

Sakina: Movie night, ice-cream, crisps, and chocolate.

Muhammad: Chocolate, ice-cream, a rainbow, the Queen, and castles.

What are some of the things that you do that make you happy?

Sakina: Hugging, and kissing you.

Muhammad: Squishing your tummy.

What things make you sad?

Sakina: Time-outs.

Muhammad: Time-outs.

How do you cheer yourself up?

Sakina: I play on your bed.

Muhammad: I give hugs, I wipe my tears.

What can people say to you to make you stop crying?

Muhammad: ‘I love you.’

Earlier today while walking, I listened to a fascinating TED talk on how grandmothers are at the frontlines on the fight against depression in Africa. Dixon Chibanda- a psychiatrist based in Zimbabwe-created a program called the Friendship Bench after finding that a large population of the country did not have access to mental health services. Because there are very few psychiatrists in the country, he decided to train grandmothers as informal mental health workers in their communities. The grandmothers did not provide formal psychiatric diagnosis but rather, they provided emotional support through evidence-based interventions and guidance. They use indigenous terms to identify mental health problems and provide culturally-relevant solutions that focus on eliminating shame and stigma and thus empowering patients with hope.

Have a listen to the full TED talk here: here


I did some exercises while watching two World Cup matches, each lasting about 10 minutes. They weren’t intense but they did raise my heart rate. I also drank my quote of water, wrote my in my gratitude journal and wrote tomorrow’s top 3 goals in my bullet journal. Now I’m off to bed with a book. I’m reading Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’.

I feel pretty good about today.




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