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For the sake of mental health, please lower your voice and be kinder!

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

✦ November sees two key awareness dates taking place that are both closely aligned in their objectives of creating a more tolerant and kinder world.


In this age of ever-increasing velocity, do you ever get the feeling that things seem to be moving just a little too quickly? Our continually busy lives focused on work, family, health and a wealth of other issues compounded by a non-stop deluge of information and content via our ubiquitous digital devices, has left many of us calling for a time-out, a yearning for a momentary oasis of calm.


Our busy lives focused on work, family, health and a wealth of other issues | Brilliant-Online
Our busy lives are increasingly focused on work, family, health and a wealth of other issues

It goes without saying that our continually hectic lifestyles and oversaturation of media results in many more tired and stressed individuals which, frequently, leads to frustration, anger and, ultimately, conflict. Shouting is more often than not how such feelings are manifested, an act which can have a hugely detrimental impact on relationships and people’s mental health.


This is very much the ethos behind World Let’s Stop Shouting Day on November 5, established by British therapeutic counsellor Yasmin Shaheen-Zaffar “to open up the conversation without shame or blame about the impact shouting has on our physical and mental health and relationships.” As she so simply yet succinctly states, “I guess for me as a mom - I want to do better.”

hectic lifestyles and oversaturation of media results in many more tired and stressed individuals | Brilliant-Online
Hectic lifestyles and oversaturation of media results in many tired and stressed individuals

Yasmin explains she is a passionate advocate of non-abusive and non-violent communication, working through the lowering of one’s voice and the initiation of clear, calm dialogue to work towards a more peaceful world – as she says, “just getting things done without the added stress and angst.” Shouting is a tool often employed to just shut the other person down, not to create a dynamic for a healthy, measured debate to resolve whatever the issue is. Often the shouter can feel like s/he is not being heard, which leads to even more frustration. Similarly, as Yasmin explains, it could be the person doing the shouting “may be trying to tell us in their own way - they are reaching out for help and support.”


In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to pause and take a breath, to stop and think before retaliating with a raised voice and antagonism. But the purpose of World Let’s Stop Shouting Day is to share resources and awareness to promote just that – to highlight strategies for assertive communication and to emphasise de-escalation techniques.


‘In A World Where You Can Be Anything, Be Kind’


When you stop to reflect on this, it makes absolute sense. It genuinely does seem the world has become an angrier and more hostile place in recent years, no doubt perpetuated by the internet which has provided anyone and everyone with access a voice and a platform to air and share their views – worse still, to force those views as absolute and deride anyone who disagrees, frequently in shameful ways via vitriolic attacks. Social media can be a very dark place and some very unsavoury characters can inhabit those dark places. Cyberbullying has become an increasingly worrying reality in recent years, something we focused on when championing the recent National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence in Australia. It has to be more than mere coincidence that with the rise of social media interaction we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of mental health cases documented worldwide, particularly among younger generations.


It genuinely does seem the world has become an angrier and more hostile place in recent years | Brilliant-Online
It genuinely does seem the world has become an angrier and more hostile place in recent years

It is this sentiment that is behind Social Media Kindness Day, set up to honour the memory of English television presenter and actress Caroline Flack who took her own life in February 2020.

Social Media Kindness Day takes place on November 9, the date of Flack’s birthday, and was first recognised in the same year she died. Flack had suffered from mental health challenges and had endured a wave of negative press coverage from selected British tabloids. Then the online bullying from trolls started which, tragically, took its toll on her and resulted in her suicide. In her final social media post on Instagram she wrote, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

If you need help contact Lifeline - https://lifelinemidcoast.org.au




It is this seemingly simple premise that is the message behind Social Media Kindness Day, a movement to create a safe space for social media users where unkindness is not tolerated. As the day’s creator Mayah Riaz explained, “When I started Social Media Kindness Day I was inundated in my inbox of stories of people who’ve been abused online just by putting themselves out there and having an account. You call [the abusers] ‘keyboard warriors’ because they are relentless and they will not stop.” The Social Media Kindness day website echoes these sentiments: “Social media should be a place where people can socialise, network, do business and live ‘their best life’ without fear of negativity.”


It is this sentiment that is behind Social Media Kindness Day, set up to honour the memory of English television presenter and actress Caroline Flack who took her own life in February 2020 | Brilliant-Online
Social Media Kindness Day was set up to honour the memory of English television presenter and actress Caroline Flack who took her own life in 2020

There are numerous ways in which to support the day, such as calling out and reporting unkind posts on your social media channels as opposed to merely scrolling past them, choosing your words carefully and with consideration so as not to upset or offend anyone, refraining from ganging-up or adding to “pile-ons” when negativity is witnessed, and simply just checking in with friends, family or co-workers to see that they are ok.


While Social Media Kindness Day takes place on just one day of the year, the objective is to sustain the approach all year round and thus work towards a kinder, more tolerant online environment. It is a movement that very closely aligns with World Let’s Stop Shouting Day in striving for a better tomorrow, something Brilliant-Online both wholeheartedly supports and gladly promotes.

 

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