3 things

3 Things That Heighten My Gratitude

Out with the negative script and in with the good. discover the 3 things at heighten my gratitude.

Last Christmas I wrote a piece called I Feel Nothing For Christmas. Sadly, At the time, I was in a lengthy and very painful depressive episode; an episode that robbed me of the one holiday I love. Despite this, I forced a smile and went through the motions, but it was all robotic and insincere.

In contrast, this Christmas, the joy and love for the season made a welcomed return. However, the road from twenty-nineteen to the Christmas of twenty-twenty, hasn’t been an easy one; not for me and certainly not for anyone else either.

While COVID-19 spread across the world, not once but twice, our lives were lite afire; our loved ones suffered and cases of mental illness grew exponentially. I mean, how can it not? Every day, we hear about its tragic reality.

Mental Health and Covid-19

Yet, despite this, the difference between how I was feeling last year and how I feel today are literally night and day. Normally, I would be analyzing why I am experiencing such a stark contrast, but this year? I refuse to.

Instead, I chose to embrace the triumphant return of my ability to feel. If I have leaned anything from my slow walk down the road to mental wellness, it’s this: Sometimes, too much thinking can lead one down the rabbit hole, a dark place that, when things are contemplated on for too long, can put you right where you don’t want to be; in a depressive mindset.

3 THINGS THAT HEIGHTEN MY GRATITUDE
Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.com – 3 things at heighten my gratitude.

In my case, if I choose to put my energy into trying to discover the difference from one year to the next, I would slip. Essentially, my mind would slowly access the feeling of ole; bring them to the fore, and I would feel as I did last year. Nope, not happening.

Its effects are too damaging and only rob me of my joy. Therefore, I chose to just let it be. Instead, I invested my limited energy into the feelings produced by the now; by the joy I am feeling. Essentially, I got my mojo back. That’s the only thing that matters.

Staying focused in the now.

Sure, saying I choose to say in the here and now easy to say, but what about actually being able to do so? That’s the hard part. Here are the 3 ways I work on staying in the now.

1. Acknowledging.

Firstly, it’s helpful to know that humans’ attention will wander. We can not prevent thoughts from floating into our minds. It’s just how the dammed thing works. But once we acknowledge this fact, we can start to be more mindful of them and thus push them aside and focus on, in my case, embracing the fact that I feel great this holiday season.

2. Calling to attention.

We want to prioritize all the thoughts we are having that are enhancing our mood, not have intrusive ones that hinder that. For example, This is the first time in years that I woke up on Christmas day at my parents’ house. This made me feel a sense of gratitude. I mean, in the middle of a pandemic I was able to share my first waking moments with the two people whom I love and who have done more for me than anyone. I made sure that I call to attention this memory. Furthermore, as I replay this joyous moment in time, I still feel its beauty. It is but one thing that keeps the good feelings rolling.

3. Continuously running through my gratefulness inventory.

Many years ago, I decided that I would keep a list of all the things I am grateful for. While this may seem difficult at first for those who have never done one, it does get easier with practice. In order to maximize its effectiveness, I include anything and everything good in my life; no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. In addition, as good things happen, I am continuously updating the list. More fuel for the positivity fire.

Conclusion

There you have it, the 3 things at heighten my gratitude. Before I go, I want to leave you with a final example of what I’m grateful for. This year I spent Christmas with my kids at my ex’s home. What made it even more wonderful was my parents also joined us. It was amazing, having the kids entire family, both their mom and their dad’s sides under the same roof. How can it get any better?

NEED HELP? DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN? CHECK OUT OUR MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE

The result of compiling a list and reviewing it are surprisingly effective to keep the good mood rolling. When I read it back and reflect on the things on it, like moments such as the ones here, It takes me further away from the negative inner script. To be more specific, it keeps depression and the imagery that comes with PTSD out of my head; if only for a while.

Finally, Our mission should be to live. Ruminating and living life off a script of negativity, will degrade one’s sense of overall well-being, cause one to miss out on the moments that make life great and worst of all, it will keep them stuck. Therefore, in order to break free from its grasp. Taking stock will help us to embrace the beautiful moment’s life throws our way. For they are our true gifts, a fact I never want to lose sight of.

Life is but a series of moments, make every one of them count.

Jonathan Arenburg.

Need help building your gratitude? Check out Good Days Start With Gratitude

Good Days Start With Gratitude is a 52-week guide to cultivate an attitude of gratitude! It is a self exploration journal designed to focus on being thankful for what we have 

anxiety or ADHD

The Road To Mental Wellness – The Book

Cover reveal

I am excited to announce that I will be revealing my first book cover in mid January. Called The Road To Mental Wellness, it chronicles my lifelong battles with mental illness. It’s goal? To help others by telling my story…. Check back for updates. However, if you would like to see it sooner, simply subscribe to The Road To Mental Wellness email list and I will be more than happy  to send you the exclusive first look at it.

Order Lemonade Stand Vol III

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

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A test of mental strength

A test of mental strength.

This holiday season will be a test of mental strength for all of us.

Before you reading, A test of mental strength, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported The Road To Mental Wellness, your contributions keep me going….. Thank you! Any donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please click the donate button below

Today is the first week of December 2020, hard to believe that Christmas is just weeks away. Ordinarily, I would be excited for the season but this year? This year, it’s hard to know how to feel. With an uptick in COVID-19 cases, we may be limited to spending it with the people we live with. Although this is a hard pill to swallow, I understand the seriousness of the times we are living in.

In times such as these, I feel that we have a right to be disappointed. And its understandable that anxiety is high for most. In spite of this though, we can still choose where to put our energy. Albeit, easier said than done; there’s no denying that it will be A test of mental strength.

Yet, it is possible. So for example, while we may not be able to gather with our loved ones; we can still choose to embrace the day with those we are with. Furthermore, for those of us who are alone, it would go along way to boost spirits if we use things like video chat to connect and participate in the joy of the day.

How To use video chat to connect at Christmas.

Whatever happens, I am determined to do two things; One make the best of it and two, give myself permission to be sad about it. Let’s face it, it’s not exactly ideal, so I will set aside a bit of time to process that sadness, acknowledge that it is an appropriate response to the situation and the I will dive head first into a merry, modified Christmas.

I think it’s best to mentally prep for the day in advance. Having PTSD, I know it will try and steer me into the worst case scenario thinking. Therefore, it is imperative to help myself by saying; “Yes it sucks, but this year we will sacrifice to ensure that we can all gather next year.”

christmas gift boxes under fir tree
Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

For me, the holidays have always been my epicentre of gratitude. For years now, I have been using the festive season as a way to maximize my appreciation for all those I love. Essentially, when December 25 rolls around, and we are all still here, I breathe that in. This makes me happy and emphasizes for me the importance of family.

Thankfully, this perspective works well for me. It will, without a doubt be something that I think about a lot for the next few weeks. I know we can make the best out of these unprecedented times. Think not so much of this year, but look forward to the next. I will keep telling myself this.

NEED HELP? DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN? CHECK OUT OUR MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE

Equally helpful, is my experience in the emergency services. Despite that these years have damaged me, what seems like beyond repair; it has also taught me the frailty of life and thus, its necessity to embrace it. This includes learning to prioritize your time with those you love. Life, it really is but a flash in the pan.

This reality begs the question; If life is frail and over in the blink of an eye, what do we do to maximize it with the things that matter most? One answer, I think, is to do what’s best for those you love this year. We have the technology now to have a modified version of our most treasured of days. And while it will be a test of our mental strength, I am really excited that we have the ability to see my loved ones.

Please, be safe and have a great holiday season. We shall overcome.

Warmest wishes,

Jonathan.

In those momenets

Checkout the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

This could be the key to moving FORWARD
This could be the key to moving forward. Let your passion be …
I will never bend to it’s will
I will never bend to its will, to my mental illness. These …
You have the right to refuse
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What's wrong with that guy?

What’s wrong with that guy?

What’s wrong with that guy?

You hear it often nowadays, “we are living in different times.” I hear this often from people when they are doing their best to avoid getting too close; thank you COVID-19. It’s one of the truer statements one makes in this era of deception and fake news.

Unfortunately, one of humans fundamental flaws, besides being easily led a stray, is complacency. Take my corner of the world for example, we have experienced a really low number of cases of the virus. It’s true that our governments have done a great job of keeping us safe but its ultimately up to the people to hold the line and do what needs to be done. If not, we risk a major health crisis here too.

Yet, I see more and more people blatantly and foolishly disregarding what needs to be done. This is especially true of the young. With an Uptake in case across Canada, We must do better. Please, if you’re not an infectious disease specialist, don’t make your own conclusions about how transmission happens.

NEED HELP? DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN? CHECK OUT OUR MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE

For example, because your area might have low numbers or even zero cases, doesn’t mean that we can lower our guards. Remember, COVID-19 came all the way from China and infected the world in a matter of months; Months! Also, just because you are young, doesn’t somehow exempt you from contracting or spreading it; so, WEAR A MASK!

But John, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MENTAL HEALTH?

Well, nothing really, except that when I am sitting in a busy café and more than half of the customs walking in without masks, I go into disaster mode. I saw an even higher percentage of kids not wearing a mask either.

Right or wrong, my blood boiled ever hotter the more and more bared faced people walking through the door. I tried to contain the PTSD range, I really did, but alas, my experience of watching people die slowly with phenomena overtook me. Finally, I jumped up out of my seat and yelled, “Where the Fu** are your masks?”

Listen to others on their own journey at A New Dawn

One young person admitted she didn’t even have one. Sadly, but not surprisingly, my displeasure was met with smiles and laughter. I didn’t care then and I don’t care now. I felt panicked and not safe. In fact, the more complacency sets in with folks, the more unsafe I feel; not only for myself, but for all those whose are immune systems are compromised. I bet instead of them considering the validity of my concerns, they probably thought; “What’s wrong with that guy?”

What's wrong with that guy?
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Let’s see, What’s wrong with that guy? Humm, well, PTSD, a mental disorder that I earned with distinction that’s what. I want to spend the rest of my days painful and death-free. A tall order I know, but a panic driven concern that can send me in to a fit of anger. It really is bigger than me sometimes.

If my own mental history weren’t enough, the accumulation of recklessness on behalf of my fellow human beings can send me to a point of no return. I really do hate it but sometimes, it will rear its ugly head.

Learn about PTSD and anger.

So, if you ever see someone loosing it on someone, especially over something like mask wearing and or other legit safety concerns; don’t ask, “What’s wrong with that guy? Instead, ask yourself, what has he been through? And is what he is angry about valid?

Please, be safe and I beg you, please think of others…. Take care!

In those momenets

Checkout the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

This could be the key to moving FORWARD
This could be the key to moving forward. Let your passion be …
I will never bend to it’s will
I will never bend to its will, to my mental illness. These …
You have the right to refuse
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE
Have I figured out the meaning of life?
Have I figured out the meaning of life? When battling major depression …