How are you feeling in the moment?

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.

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How are you feeling in the moment? This may be the most important question to ask yourself, especially in this day and age. Are you angry, sad, fearful? More specifically, at whom is your feeling directed?

I bet you think you know the answer: “my spouse and maybe even my children.” But I think one can make the argument that who you’re really upset with is you.

Okay, of course, I can’t say that for sure, but I feel like we spend a lot of time obsessing over the notion that we must be happy all the time. With that said, a number of questions must be asked: questions like, what is my definition of happiness? How do I achieve it? Is happiness really what I think it is?

In order to answer these questions, one must do so honestly. Moreover, one needs to accept certain things about what it is to be human.

Are we in a steady state of being?

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that our entire existence is full of contradictions. A fact that can, in some instances, lead us down the road to mental illness. For instance, we all know that we experience a whole range of emotions – so if this is true, why then do we, at the same time, want to prioritize just one emotion?

What is this much sought-after feeling, you ask? It’s happiness. We chase after it like it’s some sort of tangible item, a trophy we deserve just for trying. We see it as the ultimate prize, and that winning it will make our fairytale dream life come true. However, this simply isn’t the case.

Want to hear about others’ mental health journeys? Go to: A New Dawn

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pursue what it is you’re passionate about. What I am saying is that, along with the pursuit of our dreams, life’s ups and downs are proof that happiness is a real human emotion and therefore, subject to the ebb and flow that make us who we are. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can possess; rather, it is a fluctuating state of being, as are the rest of our emotions.

The happiness – depression connection.

So then, if we accept that the idea that happiness is raw emotion and not something that we can permanently acquire, what are the psychological repercussions?

In my view, being happy all comes down to how we feel in the moment. However, our mythical conceptualization of happiness is, for, many, a road of pain, fear and anxiety.

How to live in the moment

This begs the question: is the pursuit of happiness really just a journey down the spiral staircase to mental illness? Because we as people are always in a state of emotional flux, one is bound to come head-to-head with their other emotions: anger, sadness, fear and frustration. Are they wrong? Should we beat ourselves up for them and feel shame? I say no.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - Work in progress!
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What’s more, it’s how you are feeling in the moment that really matters.

Only you can truly answer these questions for yourself. With that said, if we buy into the idea that we should always be happy, won’t we be setting ourselves up for failure? Can our misunderstanding of emotions as a whole lead us to depression and anxiety, or, even worse, lead us to develop anxiety and depressive disorders?

Look at it this way, we can never always be angry, nor can we always be sad or anxious; happiness is the same. We would do well to work on staying focused on the here and now, and not beating ourselves up for feeling the range of emotions that are innate in all of us. Furthermore, if you don’t achieve your goal of being permanently happy, remember two things: one, we were never designed to be and two, it’s okay that you can’t.

What’s more, it’s how you are feeling in the moment that really matters; accepting that we are creatures who come standard with a wide range of feelings, will, ironically, make one more satisfied with life. As you move through your life, you will experience an accumulation of wonderful memories. When you paste it together, you will see just what it means to be happy.

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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, #thewellnesstalks He 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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