Punk PsychologyWednesday, February 17, 2016
In addition to my love of psychology, I also have lifelong passion for (almost) all forms music, in particular punk music. It was punk music that really spoke to me as an adolescent. As I hit puberty, my best mate and I embraced the punk ethos. In a world of 80s pop music and formulaic glam metal it was refreshing to find something that told me it was okay to embrace difference. Ever since then, I’ve continued to listen to punk as well as experimenting with anything that is new or unusual. Through the years I’ve listened to everything from Ethiopian Jazz to Krautrock and everything in between.
I coined the term punk psychology a few years ago as an odd mash up of words to describe a mental health philosophy. One that encourages people to act instead of getting bogged down in excessive worry and the inevitable anxiety and depression it can cause. To me, the punk ethos is all about having a can do approach to life. Punk is all about doing what feels right to you and not caring too much about what people think. This attitude produced some of the best music of the 20th century. It was produced by music makers who didn’t worry about being a polished musician before writing a song. This attitude was good for me when I had to forge my own path as an awkward adolescent and it’s good for me now when I want to shake things up and try something new or unusual.
In terms of clinical applications, the punk ethos can be a great antidote to depression and anxiety. Both conditions can lead to crippling doubt, excess worry and endless indecision and procrastination. An attitude that cuts through this emotional heaviness can be a real lifesaver. Adopting an attitude where you are less judgemental of yourself, your thoughts and your actions may lead to more action and less thinking about the consequences of your actions.
Get out of your head.
Get into life.
And hey, write a song about it.