I’ve been really struggling lately. It is okay to say that, isn’t it? Good. Because the truth is always a great starting point.

So I’ve been struggling a lot with my own mental and emotional health. It’s really my emotional health, but that spills over into how I feel mentally. At various points in the past two years I’ve struggled with high anxiety and low motivation; high stress and low mood; panic attacks and negative thoughts assailing my mind.

It started two years ago when my marriage fell apart. And some of the events of those two years have massively tore down my confidence, self esteem and personal resilience.

I’ve spent so much time trying to get on my feet, and at times if feels like every time I get up, I get knocked down again. I recently began thinking ‘I can’t keep getting up; life just wants me down’. I’d wake up each morning thinking ‘what even is the point; I’ve lost almost everything I had and loved; I rarely see my kids, except my youngest; I’m in a dead-end job with little prospects and I struggle financially; I go to bed in a house on my own and I wake up to absolute silence every day’

That’s a heck of a lot of negativity to wake up to every morning! it’s a heavy brain dump to bear and to try casting off. I know I’m not alone in this: there are millions of others facing hard circumstances and situations, who are feeling alone and in a dark place.

This morning I woke up to a different set of thoughts:

“Invest your energy in what BUILDS your life – not in what BREAKS your life”

– Stu Mack

I instantly then thought: that thought could be a game changer for me. What if I actually applied that to my life?

What if investing my emotional energy in what’s going well turned my emotional well-being in a better direction?

What if I applied my time to building my life actually improves my life?

What if I focussed on building better friendships rather than mourning the loss of old ones?

What if I removed my energy from living in pain to living on PURPOSE?

Investing in the right things could really be the game changer that I need. My grandfather, John McCormack used to sing and dance in our lounge to entertain me. He would sing “count your blessings, name them one by one”. He told me once that every night he would kneel next to his bed and simple thank God for the good things in life. He wasn’t a religious man, but as he got older he said this became a common practice. That was years before the mindfulness and gratitude movements we see around today, and it always struck me. I’ve always made gratitude a way of life, but in recent times my practice hasn’t been as consistent. As life has pressed in around me and dark clouds have covered me, while certain cultures have circled, it has been hard most days to feel thankful.

What if investing in what BUILDS my life looks like counting my blessings? If I took those negative thoughts that greet me menacingly each morning and beat them into gratitude and joy, what would it look like?

It would look like this:

MORNING THANKFULNESS TO START THE DAY

1. The point of today is to enjoy it and add value to the lives of others

2. Every loss creates space for new things. Today I may regain a little of what I have lost

3. I get to spend time with your children on occasion – this is a huge blessing. I love them and pray they are blessed today

4. My youngest has been with me every step of the journey and she loves me as deeply as I love her

5. My job helps other people as I listen and respond well to them. It is a step towards building a future (I’m thankful for my best friend who regularly reminds me of this fact)

6. I am building slowly towards financial security. This is a process that is required right now.

7. You have the space to reflectively end and start each day way – use this blessing wisely.

Small steps to start something purposeful

Perhaps starting each day by addressing our negativities and darkest thoughts is the first small step in building our lives and moving towards healing. My mate Mike is an NLP Practitioner. I remember him telling years back our live direction depends on how we direct our energy. My question today is “will I move my energy in the direction of my dreams or my nightmares?

I’m starting to move in the direction of my dreams. How about you?

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