MHAW Surviving or thriving and tips from Emma Lannigan

Surviving to Thriving

Surviving or thriving is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May 2017).

The MHAW campaigns over the years, including to reduce the stigma around the phrase mental health, have made such a positive impact. Increasingly more people are able to talk about mental health. However, there is still a long way to go in understanding the process of recovery and that living with health mentally and physically are equally as important.

Recognising we all have mental health is the first step to thriving.

Raising our self awareness about our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing helps us individually retain control of how we feel.


When we survive in life we will live with limits, restrictions, fear and anxiety. When we are surviving we are more likely to compare our life to others. The feeling of ‘not having enough’, ‘not being good enough’ to ‘not fitting in’ all add to the pressure of wanting to be ‘something or someone else.’ When we are surviving we often apologise for who we are. These unrealistic thoughts and pressures distort our enjoyment of our own life.


Thriving is about ownership and self care. Thriving starts with understanding more about who we are, what we enjoy, why we enjoy it and what we want to experience in our life. Learning to feel and focus on kindness, gratitude for what we do have. With more self recognition we feel more confident to sharing the skills and knowledge we have to help other people. Our life has the ability to expand and grow by simply focusing on what is important to us and how we choose to maintain our self care towards our physical and mental health.

“There is such a sense of empowerment behind this year’s MHAW campaign. It’s about raising our awareness of the ability we have to build our resilience and inner strength, and start making new choices that support our mental and physical health.”

Supporter of the Mental Health Foundation, Emma commented;

“When we are thriving we are using strategies and techniques to ‘deal with’ changes in life that are often out of our control. Thriving also encourages us to focus more on what is important to us.”

The difference between surviving and thriving is the level of control we have. Without control our levels of anxiety build and over time the physical and mental effects this has on our health can lead towards depression. By being able to learn strategies to thrive, individuals can maintain their mental health.

With more preventative self care awareness we can make informed choices about how we are:
thinking and what we are saying to ourselves (our self talk)
eating and drinking
exercising and check in on our general daily movement
making time for relaxation
sleeping (or getting help when we can’t sleep)

Noticing these things in yourself, means you are more likely to notice any changes of behaviour in your family, friends and colleagues. Ask them: “Are you OK?” and listen.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week we all have the opportunity to remind ourselves of whether we are surviving or thriving, and to check in with people in our life.

Free Download:

Download this a short awareness ebook about our mental health and self care written by Emma Lannigan which has a particular focus on our mental health awareness at work.

About Emma

Emma Lannigan (Canham) is a Mental Health First Aider, Holistic Massage Therapist, Reiki Master and NLP and Hypnotherapy Practitioner and Coach.

Emma Lannigan presents talks based on her own personal experience of depression 15 years ago, at the height of her marketing career, in order to raise awareness of depression, anxiety and the effects of stress. In addition, Emma has written and presents a number of workshops to encourage learning, empowerment and creativity all inspired through belifehappy.

For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

Visit the Mental Health Foundation website

Join the Campaign #MHAW17

Posted in