Are you living life with gratitude?
Let’s all show gratitude this November. I am writing this month’s (November) blog post, Wednesday 10th Oct 2018, on World Mental Health Day, as recognized by the World Health Organization. The campaign is calling for mental health to be at the heart of what children learn in school- because mental health shouldn’t be extracurricular.
Mental Health impacts us all
When my beautiful sister Lorraine was 16 yrs old she suddenly became ill. Her mental health deteriorated rapidly over the ensuing months and she was eventually diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She is now in her mid 50’s and has never had a normal life. The impact on my parents and family has been significant.
Around the time my sister became ill, you dare not speak of mental illness concerns, such was the stigma. Further, mental health budgets were being cuts, hospital wards closed and ‘care in the community’ was the order of the day. This was no more than a euphemism for, pushing sufferers out of the publicly funded NHS and into the arms of family and friends who had no idea or means to cope.
Today things seem to be improving gradually.
The public is increasingly aware of mental health issues at home and in the workplace. The stigma is being lifted all the time, allowing us all to speak freely and openly about our experiences. Further, the Government seems to be taking the issue ever more seriously. At last, allocating much-needed funds to this Cinderella cause.
Now I’m not a mental health guru, but I have been around it all my life. A few years after my sister became ill, my parents set up the mental health charity Jami. This charity grows year on year in line with demand for their services.
Often times we don’t know how to talk to a suffer.
What I can tell you, is just how important community is from a sufferer’s perspective. Often times we don’t know how to talk to a suffer. But if we come together and support that person in the family, friend or another community setting, the feeling that can impart to the sufferer can be immeasurable.
We all need to feel a sense of belonging, of being needed and loved. All too often the sufferer feels none of these basic emotions, so gathering round that person metaphorically and physically is crucial.
Those of us who are fortunate enough not to have ever suffered from a mental health issue can consider themselves blessed.
I know I do, and I am thankful each and every day.
When I’m not dealing with Insurance claims for The Claims Desk I am interviewing guests for my new podcast Your London Legacy. I’ve been amazed just how often the issue of mental health arises in conversation.
What’s clear to me is that we all need to feel gratitude for our health and wellbeing, as our lives can change in a heartbeat. On the flip of a coin.
Whenever you are feeling sorry for yourself (and we all do), take a moment out of your day to show gratitude. Stop and think of all the wonderful things you may have in your life.
Maybe a warm cozy bed, clothes on your back and food on your plate. If you have these basics you are already in the top few % in the world.
Marcus Aurelias the great Stoic Philosopher once said: ‘’It’s not death we should fear. We should fear never beginning to live’’. For me, this is all about being thankful for what I have. Never comparing myself to others and sharing what I have.
On 28th November this year, Thanksgiving will be celebrated in the USA. It’s a lovely tradition when family and friends get together to give thanks for what they have.
What can you do to say ‘thank you’ for what you have? How can you show gratitude?