The role of the storyteller in wellness and well being

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a charity in Surrey enquiring about a storytelling session for a wellness and well being day.  Within a couple of days I received a second message from a housing project in Bedfordshire and a third from a school in London both inviting me to participate in well being days.  There is nothing terribly remarkable about a series of e-mail enquiries which happen to concern the same subject but in the past decade I have never been invited to work at wellness and well being events.  Sure enough, like London buses, three events turned up at once and wellness and well being is now firmly on my agenda.  The question is what should a storyteller do at such events?

Wellness and well being are to do with mental health and how you feel within yourself.  It’s an inter generational issue and concerns loads of important things like happiness, confidence, self esteem and self worth.  It’s about everything that can be knocked or crushed when we feel vulnerable or lonely.  If well being is defined in terms of how we maintain and nurture a positive outlook in the face of problems like bullying, family trauma and stress then it’s clear that storytellers have a role to play in its promotion.

Storytelling is an ancient art form but as an activity it’s inexpensive and universal.  Some people do karate, some go rock climbing and some tell stories.  Belonging to a storytelling club or attending storytelling events can be a great way of meeting new people, feeling a part of a group and sharing something creative.  Storytelling can transport a person out of their day to day existence, building confidence through participation and even changing a person’s emotional state leaving both the storyteller and the listener feeling good about themselves and (in some cases) empowered.  It’s difficult to quantify the long term benefits of storytelling as it relates to wellness and well being and whilst storytellers may not offer a solution to how we nurture and maintain a positive outlook stories undoubtedly offer respite from a chaotic world and pathways for resilience.

So what am I going to do at the Wellness and Well Being events I’m attending?  Well I am quite unashamedly going to do exactly what I’ve been doing for almost 10 years; I’m going to tell my favourite stories.  I’m going to tell stories that I have magpied off other storytellers, from books and the internet and I’m going to tell them in my own unique way.  You see its my long held belief that if I enjoy myself my audience will respond positively not just to my story but to the enthusiasm I bring to the narrative and this will lifts their souls and put joy in their hearts.  If my audience walk away with smiles on their faces having had some fun then I will have done my job.

If you want to read more about wellness and well being here are two very useful links to external websites.

NHS Choices

Mind (UK based charity)

If you are interested in finding out more about these types of session or other sessions that I offer contact me.