Case Studies

Is there such a thing as a healthy moan?

Type: Case Study
a young angry child

Nicola Hansen is the General Manager at Roar Connections for Life. Below she shares her thoughts on self management and judging the awards.

Roar – Connections for Life, (This link will take you away from our website) won the Innovative Partnership Idea of the Year at the Self Management Awards in 2016. You can read a bit more about Roar here and watch this video about what winning a Self Management Award meant to them.(This link will take you away from our website)

What does self management mean to you?

Igniting genuine self-worth that starts a process of positive changes to thoughts and behaviours leading to improved health and wellbeing.

I am looking for a project or initiative that has understood key motivators that draw people into engaging and continually improves their services through the learning from the people they work with.

Why do you think people should submit a nomination for the Self Management Awards this year?

I would urge organisations who believe their approach is achieving something empowering and successful so we can celebrate this work and strengthen the broader understanding about how to enable more people to self-manage.

If your friends could describe you in three words, what would they be?

My friends describe me as loyal, determined and generous.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

If I could have a superpower it would be ‘weather modification’ so that I could enable frail older people not to get blown over in the wind, not fall on ice, not stay in because its dreach and wet but to have long stable periods on dry warm weather so that people can come into their communities more- like they do in Italy and Spain etc.

Nicola added another question for her self: 

“Is there such a thing as a healthy moan!?”

I lived and worked in Norway for 7 years and although I met some of my best friends there – and am even married to one- I just couldn’t be doing with their lack of a sense of humour that made me truly laugh. I also couldn’t stand when they moaned about their lives – when they live in one of the richest countries in the world. It really got to me!

One of the things about travel and learning from other cultures is that it helps you to see your own through different eyes. I really enjoy the self-depreciating underdog Scottish humour (Still Game, Billy Connolly or Kevin Bridges are just hilarious to me) and I get that there is a lot less comic material in things going smoothly and some of my funniest stories are when things went wrong.

However, at what point does taking the rip out of the Scottish summer or the food at your club or the town you live in stop being funny and start being damaging? For me, it’s all about the energy emanating from the person telling it and the warmth that its underpinned with. If it doesn’t have these positive elements then it’s at best annoying moaning and at worst energy stealing and health damaging.

Over the past few years, for the sake of my own health and wellbeing, I have had to distance myself from people who steal my energy, belittle my enthusiasm or focus on my deficits. Even a fairly healthy, resilient person like me can be brought low by cumulative negativity. So what impact does relentless moaning (even humorous) have on people who are ill, disabled, vulnerable, lonely or have poor self-esteem?

We are mid-way through a program of summer outings with many of our groups. Although we are very aware of the socioeconomic differences affecting people’s health and wellbeing, what is also striking is how infectious some positive laughter can be at uplifting an entire event……but how unescapable a dour buddy’s words of ‘comic criticism’ can be if you don’t drown them out.

On one outing, we arrived at the hotel for high tea to be met by a most harassed manager! Even a hint of negativity could have tipped the situation into moaning-central but the Roar girls just rolled our sleeves up, smiled and pitched in to help set tables and serve. Great meal, smiles all round and a discount. That’s the power of positivity!

In a country that gave us ‘hurricane Bawbag’ – I don’t want to sound like the humour police! But if we are going to have relationships and connections which nurture wellbeing we need to be more aware of where negativity starts drowning out positivity.

So by all means have a wee moan but make sure ‘yur nae takin it too far!’

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