Lily-Jo’s latest single, ‘Be The Change’ will be available across all digital platforms at 4 PM (BST) on Friday, May 22. To celebrate, we will be hosting a virtual premiere and live Q&A with Lily-Jo on our YouTube channel here at 4 PM.
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week here at the Lily Jo Project, Lily-Jo is releasing her first single of 2020, ‘Be The Change’. Our writer, Emma, caught up with Lily-Jo to find out about the meaning behind the song, and to get some insight into how she feels we can ‘be the change’ in the world today.
Emma’s Interview With Lily-Jo
Lily-Jo, can you tell us what the song is about?
A: “I wrote this song way before Covid-19 was a thing. Philippa Hanna & I have great writing chemistry and so we got together to create. There’s always a bit of nervous energy beforehand. Like, is a song going to be birthed today?! We mind mapped the idea of what it means to ‘be the change in the world that you want to see.’
This song is about focusing on the good stuff. It’s about focusing on what is possible.”
What are your favourite lyrics in the song?
A: “My favourite lyrics are: “Stand up and face the future, stand up and be the change, you don’t have to fear forever, don’t have to be afraid.”
“These are my favourite lyrics because it’s a call to stand up and be the change in situations we might find ourselves in. Life can be scary sometimes, but it’s important to stand up for ourselves and find our inner strength to face the future.”
What do you hope this song does for other people?
A: “I hope this song encourages others to be the change in their local community, whether that’s in their household or with their neighbours. I want them to be reminded that putting other people first and serving others is really important for our mental health and wellbeing. I hope it helps people be the best versions of themselves that they can be!”
How is being the change important for mental health?
A: “Numerous studies show us that when we are volunteering for someone and thinking of others, it has a positive effect on our own mental wellbeing. It can relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety and help us feel better about ourselves. It gives us a sense of meaning and purpose to be there for someone and focus on others. It’s a great distraction!”
How has “being the change” helped you in your life and mental health?
A: ‘Sometimes I get into a place where I start to feel a bit let down by people, and maybe take offence too easily. What I try to do in that place is turn my feelings around and ask myself – “If I really wish someone had sent a card to me, why don’t I send a card to them?”
“I think it’s really important to treat others how we want to be treated. It always makes me feel better! It changes the negative spiral in my mind and lets me take control of my thoughts. A good way to take control of my thoughts is by something called thought recording (check out this great resource all about it here). This is a therapeutic technique that helps us step outside of our emotions and really understand them and see them for what they are. Evaluating our negative thoughts rather than letting them take control is really important, especially during a time of crisis like lockdown!”
What is a significant time you have had to be the change in your own life?
A: “When I first started to tour, I would write songs about mental health and before I sang the songs I would always talk about mental health from the stage. Back then, people weren’t really talking about mental health on stage and people would come up to me afterwards and share their stories and worries and their own mental health journeys.”
“I realised that there needed to be a better way to talk about mental health and engage people so that they could get help. This was my “be the change” moment and I started The Lily-Jo Project. It started from just an idea, but now The Lily-Jo project helps thousands of people! So I want to encourage people that when you start something, when you follow your heart, it can lead to massive and significant change for other people.”
What’s one way that you think other people could “be the change?”
A: “I think the easiest way to be the change is to think about what you would most like right now, and then give it to someone else! It’s a small step, but it’s just one proactive step in thinking about others. It’s really about spreading good vibes in our community and sharing joy with others. That’s what being the change is all about!”
A Note About Thought Recording
Thought recording is a great therapeutic process to help you cope with negative thoughts. Try it with Lily-Jo’s own example here.
You may also find this article from Psychology Tools helpful!
Listen to “Be The Change” This Friday!
Lily-Jo’s “Be The Change” single will be available across all digital platforms this Friday, May 22. Join in on the fun and attend the virtual premiere/Q&A on our YouTube channel here – we’ll be live at 4 PM (BST)!
If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the things Lily-Jo mentioned in her interview, please consider checking out any of our resources at www.thelilyjoproject.com/#help.