Gratitude and Mental Illness

Jonathan Arenburg
Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan is a mental health blogger, published author, and speaker. He has appeared in numerous newspapers and has been a guest on many podcasts.

Does gratitude cure mental Illness? I think not.

As I rise on this green and mild Christmas morning; I can’t help but think about all the things I am grateful for. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the day, the silence of being the first one up, or my first coffee that has called gratitude and mental illness to my attention.

Whatever the cause, I can’t help but think about it from a mental-illness perspective and the misconceptions around it. One thing I hear often when discussing mental illness with people is this: “If you’d just stop and think about all the things you are grateful for, you’ll feel better.” For some of you, I have no doubt that this sounds familiar.

It is in those moments of mindfulness that we can feel how lucky we are.

Although I’m not entirely sure how to accurately explain that PTSD, depression and indeed, any mental health condition doesn’t work that way, I can tell you that It just doesn’t.

See, mental illness and gratitude are two totally separate things – much like the brain and your arm. They are unrelated but one has power over the other. The brain and body also have influence over one another to get things done.

Although the relationship between gratitude and mental illness doesn’t necessarily work in harmony in terms of their differences, they nonetheless impact one another.

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The power of psychiatric disorders is at the root of this impact on gratitude. That being said, your ability to feel grateful oftentimes cannot subdue the disorder you have wreaking havoc within.

Does this mean that one can’t feel gratitude? Of course not. One just needs to cultivate it when being mindful, while zeroing in on the moment. It is in those moments of mindfulness that we can feel how lucky we are.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
Find out more below – Written for therapeutic release, published in hopes it helps you.

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When you are temporarily lifted out of the fog, think of the things and people you really appreciate. I find this goes a long way when the overpowering wave of mental illness swallows you whole once more.

So, on this beautiful Christmas morn, I am full of appreciation for all I am lucky to have. And although I am still sick with mental illness, I am in a place where I can take on the day and feel the gratitude that goes with the warmth of being with those you love.

Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Arenburg is a mental health blogger, S speaker, writer, and published author; He is also the host of the mental wellness podcast, #thewellnesstalksHe has also appeared in the i'Mpossible's Lemonade Stand III. He has also been a contributing writer for Mental health talk, a column in his local paper. In addition, he has also written for the mental health advocacy organization; Sick Not Weak.Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health-related podcasts Including: A New Dawn, The Depression Files, Books and Authors, and Men Are Nuts. Since being put off work because of PTSD, Jonathan has dedicated his time to his mental wellness journey while helping others along the way.Educated as an addictions' counsellor, he has dedicated most of his professional life of eighteen years, working with those who have intellectual disabilities, behavioural challenges, and mental illness.He has also spent fifteen years in the volunteer fire service helping his community.His new book (2021), “The Road To Mental Wellness,” goes into detail about his life-long battle with depression, anxiety and more recently, PTSD. In it, he hopes to provide insight on how mental illness cultivates over a lifetime and, if not recognized and treated, how it impacts the entirety of one's life; right from childhood into the adult years. Jonathan lives with his two children in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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