How are you feeling in the moment

how are you feeling in the moment

How are you feeling in the moment? This may be the most important question to ask yourself especially 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.

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

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pursue what it is your passion 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.

How are you feeling in the moment

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.

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 ok 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 pasted together, you will see, just what it means to be happy.

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Hijacked by anxiety

hijacked by anxiety.

why we sometimes fasely think we hate ourselves.

As of late, I have found myself slowly accumulating angst; anxiety that goes far above and beyond my daily battle with the beast. I know now, that I’ve been suffering more as of late because of the times we are living in. A fact that never dawned on me at the beginning of the outbreak. I now know that I was hijacked by anxiety.

This deluge of bonus dread snuck up on me like some sort of stealthy ninja; it was so slick that I really didn’t see it coming. However, in retrospect, having generalized anxiety disorder, I feel like I should have known better.

regardless of what I should or should not have seen coming, the fact remains that I did not. So, I simply had to deal with its fallout; move through it and not hate myself for it.

I really can’t find evidence to say; “yes, I should hate myself.”

Although I tell myself not to hate myself and not to fall for mental illnesses powers of destruction; my anxiety hijacks my sense of reasoning, thereby turning my brain into the wild west. The main player is, of course, anxiety; with guest appearances from my depressive disorder and my old arch-nemesis, PTSD.

Once I caught myself being overtaken by my own mental health conditions and accepted it; I couldn’t help but think about how others were coping. There must be millions of others out there living in their own sea of fear and uncertainty.

Hijacked by anxiety

Likewise, there must be just as many individuals on every continent hating themselves for the way they are feeling. But, when you look at the neuroscience behind what’s making us hate ourselves, it clearly shows that we have little reason to believe that we are the awful people our minds make us out to be. Now, more then ever, we are being hijacked by anxiety on an epic scale.

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Even though science can clearly show that what I am going through is preception based on emotions and not necessarily that of reality; the neurological processes responsible, make this “I hate me” phenomenon look and feel real. Thus, this “false reality” is in fact, at least in my mind’s eye, real.

Despite what the science says, my own, real experience with self-loathing seems to be synonymous with low mood and a heavy sense of dread.

Thankfully, I have come to understand the difference between what makes me, me and what makes up the symptoms of my angst. In other words, I try not to let symptoms of a mental illness define who I am.

Personally, I prefer to call myself a worst-case scenario thinker.

Although I do have these feelings, I acknowledge them and try putting it in context. For example, Is what I am feeling natural given the current circumstances?(heightened anxiety) Absolutely! Moreover, is it appropriate to hate me because of world events that are beyond my control? No, there is no logical connection between the two; therefore, it’s the anxiety highjack at work. I really can’t find any tangible evidence to say; “yes, I should hate myself.” Here’s why.

our brains on anxiety.

A more in depth look at anxiety and the brain

Our brains are amazing! This malleable mass that sits between our ears is responsible for making us who we are. It’s so perplexing to me that this lump of grey matter, weighing just three pounds, is responsible for driving our temperament, how we interact with others and the wider world around us.

Sadly though, it’s susceptible to corruption; both by other regions of the brain and by external influences. There can be many reasons for this; however, anxiety and or anxiety disorders are a great example of how we can be hijacked by anxiety.

How anxiety disorder effects our brains.

Now, with all that said, let’s use my generalized anxiety disorder as an example. Simply stated, my angst is exacerbated over anything and everything and it never shuts off. Therefore, The results of this turn me into a clinical worry wort a fact that I find very disheartening at times. So, personally, I feel better when I refer to myself as a worst-case scenario thinker.

for those of us with anxiety disorders, this response is literally running the show.

So just how exactly does anxiety work? What gives GAD so much power in the first place. Anxiety is thought to come from our old brain or limbic system; more specifically, there are two almond-shaped structures in the brain the help with emotional regulation. Its main job is to modulate emotions like; anger, fear, sadness and, you guessed it, anxiety.

This cluster of nerve cells lurking near the base of our brains is the main driver of our fight, flight or freeze response; basically throwing us in survival mode. This is a very useful function when facing the prospect of being eaten. This prehistoric alarm system has helped get humanity where it is today. However, in a busy modern world, most of the fear we experience is not immediately life-threatening. With that said, our every busy lifestyle and exposure to tragic news twenty-four-seven keeps us on constant alert.

For those of us with anxiety disorders, this response is literally running the show. We are often in this fight, flight or freeze mode for no discernable reason.

“When it comes our brains, our emtional centre seems to take precedent over logic and reasoning.”

While it may seem like there is no seemingly real reason for your anxiety to be ablaze inside your head, I can assure you there is and it’s rooted in our neurobiology. Here, let me explain. Have you ever noticed that the more anxious you are, the less you seem to be able to think clearly? Does it feel like you’re fumbling around in a fog, full of forgetfulness? Maybe you felt like your memory has gone on vacation or your concentration has checkout? That’s because all this is really happening…For real!

Mental symptoms of anxiety

While it may seem like it, trust me, you are not losing your mind. I know, I know, it feels like we are; sometimes we even feel like we are going to die. Of course, the good news is that we are definitely not going crazy and so far, at least in my experience, I haven’t died yet. All of these feelings are anxiety-driven. They also include that self-hatred feeling.

I would encourage you to challenge this notion by looking at it with your logical brain.

Ok, so what’s really going on when all this occurs? Essentially, the amygdala highjacks the part of the brain that is responsible for your personality, your ability to reason and to make good decisions. This area is known as the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain sits just behind your forehead, cool eh?

Higjacked by anxiety

So, why the heck does the amygdala do this? Well, simply put, it senses danger, real or imaginary. And in sensing this danger, it overrides and dictates all priority to your survival. in other words, it doesn’t need you to think or rationalize. It feels like you need to flee or fight.

Sadly, this emotionally driven dominance over the frontal lobe of the brain seems to be “always-on” in people with anxiety disorders and wreaks havoc in their daily lives. Imagine, living in a blanket of brain fog, not having full ability to concentrate; man, it’s hard work trying to keep up.

Lastly, it’s tough trying to wrestle with this I hate me notion; no matter how untrue it is. Just remember that in all probability, you were hijacked by anxiety. I would encourage you to challenge this notion by looking at it with your logical brain; if you can find little evidence of this, then it likely isn’t the truth.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness


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Anxiety in the New Age

Anxiety in the New Age

Just a few short months ago, I was waging war against the most formidable foe I have ever encountered; Myself. Although this fight against PTSD, anxiety and depression has been exhausting; at least I knew what I was up against and how to mitigate its damage. But now I stand face to face with a new and unfamiliar enemy; That of anxiety in the new age.

Well, to be fair, I am dancing with an old enemy, just one on steroids; a mutated version of my old nemesis; generalized anxiety disorder. This new age has made my anxiety so strong that I have a difficult time recognizing It. Moreover, my coping tools that were once so effective in against GAD, prove to be no match.

What you are feeling is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

See, times have changed and whether you have an anxiety disorder or not, you are undoubtedly feeling the near-constant fear your anxiety produces. Angst is a “fight, flight or freeze response, it’s what kept your ancestors alive back in the day. However, In more modern times, such as the era we all find ourselves living in, its side effects manifest themselves in two ways.

Anxiety in the New Age

Firstly, loss of control. We are social creatures and need connection because of it. Our free will to move about has seriously impacted, leaving us feeling a little trapped and powerless. The good news? It’s absolutely normal to feel this way. Perhaps we can find comfort in evaluating how we are feeling. In other words, If you are feeling powerless, is this an inappropriate response given the times we are living in? Of course not. What you are feeling is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. It’s ok, to feel this way, it’s normal so please, don’t be too hard on yourself for it.

The need to say connected in the midst of Covid – 19

Another way to dampen down this fire in the mind is to do a gratefulness inventory.

The second thing that tends to heighten anxiety is fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown is such vast territory in terms of where your imagination can roam, it’s just scary. How will I pay my bills? When will I get to see my friends and family? Will I miss out on that vacation I’ve been planning? So many unknowns. What makes not knowing so problematic is that with each question comes a fictitious story that we build up around them. for example, you may start to construct a fantasy around that vacation. “What if we are housebound till June when I am supposed to go?” “I bet I won’t be able to go!” “Damn, I have been saving for years, of course, this virus would do this to me.” Now you’re at a constant level eight on the anxious scale.

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This one’s dangerous because of its limitless fuel to keep anxiety revving on high. In my experience, the best way to turn down the dial is to practice mindfulness; taking time to focus on the now. Another way to dampen down this fire in the mind is to do a gratefulness inventory. Simply close your eyes and think of everyone and everything you are grateful for; this exercise is especially great when your head hits the pillow.

Discover the power of mindfulness.

My hot mess, an example of success.

Before I leave you, I want to share my story of how I drifted off to sleep last night despite my anxiety tearing through my head like an asshole tornado. Like many of you, I am feeling the pinch if powerlessness and as a result, my anxiety disorder has set up permanent shop. And, as well all know, it’s also a nighthawk and runs full steam ahead as soon as your head hits the pillow. Man, I hate that. But, with the gratefulness inventory, I was able to slide into slumber. Instead of fixating on the unprecedented health crisis that lay just beyond my door, I started to think of all things great in my life. my list looked like this

  1. I was safe and warm
  2. I was with my partner and cat.
  3. My kids and other loved ones are healthy and safe.
  4. We both have an income right now.
  5. I live in a great country and am better off than many.
  6. I have wonderful, supportive friends.
  7. We have technology so we all can keep connected.

My list ended up being longer then this, that’s what I love about this method. The list just snowballs once you start taking inventory of all the things that truly matter. The ultimate benefit, however, is how effective it is. Before I knew it, my mind was quiet, my dread had dissipated and I fell fast to sleep, filled with feelings of love and safety. This is how I plan to deal with anxiety in the new age.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness