Speaking Mental Health
Forward Times Mental Health Advisors
What does the popular music group The Rolling Stones and the early 2000s kid friendly television show Yo Gabba Gabba have in common? As I reflect on it, there are likely many similarities and not just the one to be discussed. For example, both the music group and the television show had eccentric styles, presented creative music, and used their platforms to communicate insightful messages to their listeners. There is one commonality between the two entities that is worth discussing in this article: they both created a song titled You Can’t Always Get What You Want. While The Rolling Stones’ version of the song is much more widely known, the song performed by The Yo’ Dazzlers (Yo Gabba Gabba), though intended for children, presents a practical message that can be useful for those of all ages as well.
In their song, The Rolling Stones follows their chorus statement of, “You can’t always get what you want,” with the line, “But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” Go ahead, feel free to sing that line in your head. On the other hand, The Yo’ Dazzlers conclude, “It won’t help if you keep on asking.” Parents with young and adolescent children might be able to readily relate to the verbiage used by The Yo’ Dazzlers. One song version encourages the audience to reframe their thinking and consider the outcomes that may result if there is a change in perspective while the other places more emphasis on stopping an action (asking) altogether. Though neither song was likely designed to have its listeners reflect on their mental health, both songs present points relevant to mental health in their hooks. At the core of our mental health is the desire to have our needs met. When we achieve what we desire, we feel good; however, when we don’t get what we want, if we have not learned to manage our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, we may respond irrationally, which can further jeopardize our mental health, that of others, and the outcomes.
Both songs are enjoyable and worth listening to because they’re catchy, entertaining, and thought provoking. The unintended message that they both convey is that situations will arise in our lives that will feel uncomfortable and are undesirable. These situations will sometimes trigger anxiety, prompt emotionality, and may combat our peace of mind. Unfortunately for us, we may be powerless to change situations we will face of this sort; however, we can learn to recognize when our expectation of a specific outcome, or our repeated efforts to obtain what we want is reinforcing negativity, and we can change those things. These songs agree that our peace and progression don’t have to be compromised when we don’t get what we want. When we commit genuine effort to evaluating our situations and our approaches to them, and are willing to try something new or different, however, we may come to learn, in time, that we will or may have already received what was needed. Abandoning certain actions and improving thought patterns is not outside of our locus of control, but it may require seeking assistance from those who are qualified to help, like mental health professionals. Reminders of the importance of our mental health are all around us, “and If you look sometimes, you just might find the positive reinforcement you need,” even in songs or kids tv shows.
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