Embrace the DifferencesWhat are you grateful for today? Sometimes it’s tough to pinpoint exactly what it is that we are grateful for on any given day – especially when working on a daily gratitude journal. Jeff says that being consistent and making sure that no day is ever a repeat of the day before can prove do be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. The morning he recorded this podcast, it was cold and there was the usual school traffic – but Jeff soon hit on something to be grateful for. “I recognized that every school has its own personality, kind of like every person has their own personality – and that is what makes them unique,” he said. “I’m thinking that we’re all unique in our own special way, and I am grateful this morning to embrace everybody’s uniqueness.” If you are different, embrace that difference. “It’s kind of like the world is one big, giant, epic, huge, honking quilt. Many pieces, shapes, sizes, fabrics and colors – all woven together to produce that one quilt.” Jeff said that for many of us, hat quilt is so special to us. Perhaps it’s the texture, or maybe it’s the memory of all those little pieces, shapes, sizes and colors coming together. But it’s different. “Embrace being different, my friends. Embrace the differences that are in your life – because I think it’s all these differences that bring out personality, understanding, empathy, compassion, knowledge – beauty.” When you wake up and wonder what you are going to be grateful for that day, Jeff urges you to look around. Look for the nuances around you. “It’s a dreary day, but as I look around, I see colors in the sky and in the clouds, like a darkish, grayish blue. I see a little orange coming from out from the sun – yellow, white. I see different colored bricks, green trees, a different shade of green on the grass.” Be grateful for the opportunity to see vibrant colors. Be grateful that you can touch, smell, taste, hear and see. “You know what’s sad? What’s sad is that we don’t take time every day to appreciate these little things. My friends – appreciate the journey every single day, because happy people aren’t happy all the time. But happy people celebrate happy moments.” Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker. Go HERE. Check out Jeff’s new nonprofit, THE JEFF YALDEN FOUNDATION. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289. For a limited time, you can own Jeff’s new book, Your Life Matters, for only $0.99 on KINDLE. SUBSCRIBE to The BOOM Podcast. JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook Group and share your BOOM moments with us!
Mental health speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden recorded Episode 51 of The BOOM Podcast in the parking lot of Oregon-Davis High School in beautiful Hamlet, Indiana.
Appreciating the Moments in Your LifeMental health speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden came to us live from Burlington, Vermont for Episode 50 of The Boom Podcast – in an unlikely situation for a podcast: The side of the highway. He was driving in from a speaking engagement in New York, and was so taken with the beauty of his surroundings that he was compelled to pull over and share his thoughts immediately. “Gratitude is just a simple attitude,” he said. “I am driving along, and I’ve got about an hour drive. I wanted to do it this morning rather than last night, so I can appreciate how beautiful Vermont is: The absolutely beautiful colors on the trees and the mountains.” As he was passing by all the kaleidoscopic splendor of Vermont, the thought came to him that many of us are so busy that we sometimes fail to notice the grandeur of our surroundings. He could have easily sped toward his gig without a nod to the wonderful landscape along the way. “My friends, happy people are not happy all of the time, but happy people celebrate happy moments,” he said. “Man – I am looking out over miles and miles of beautiful mountains. The colors! You can see the frost and the clouds – and if I look behind me, the sun is just coming up over the mountains and the farmland – just miles and miles of open land. What a way to start my day!” For a guy now living in the Coastal Carolina region, he noticed the snappy 35-degree weather too, but he gladly embraced the beautiful experience. “Day number four of Living a Life of Gratitude is about appreciating the moments. Find moments in your life to celebrate. I’m thinking to myself, what a great morning that I just get to wake up in Vermont and take all of this in.” Happy people are not happy all the time, but happy people celebrate happy moments. Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker. Go HERE. Check out Jeff’s new nonprofit, THE JEFF YALDEN FOUNDATION. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289. For a limited time, you can own Jeff’s new book, Your Life Matters, for only $0.99 on KINDLE. SUBSCRIBE to The BOOM Podcast. JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook Group and share your BOOM moments with us!
If you are at all familiar with Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden, you already know that he is passionate about being fully transparent. This includes in large part the fact that he is a man who lives with mental illness, and he is a staunch advocate for mental health. He also believes that mental illness will soon become the biggest public health crisis in the United States. A while back, he went through a setback. “I said things I wish I didn’t say and did things I wish I didn’t do – and then I came to realize that I hadn’t been taking my meds,” he said. While he wishes that didn’t happen, he knows that if you don’t learn from your mistakes, then you don’t grow – and as much as he wishes this setback didn’t happen, he said he appreciated that it did. “I’ll give you one reason why,” he said. “Many of us who take medication – we think, ‘ah – you know what – I’m feeling good – and now that I am feeling good, I can go off my medication.’ No, my friends – you are doing good because you are taking medication. I’m thankful for last week, because it did remind me that I will be on medication for the rest of my life – and that’s not a bad thing.” IDENTIFY YOUR CLOSE CIRCLE In Episode 48 of The Boom Podcast, Jeff lays out Day Three of his 28-Day Attitude of Gratitude series, and it’s all about the people in your life who make up your close circle. Who is in your close circle? Who are your confidants? With whom can you share your deepest self without fear of betrayal? Jeff is not talking about acquaintances here. He’s talking about those who will go the distance with you: Your family, your significant other – your trusted friends. “Who are the people in your life that support and encourage you? Who are the people that lift you up when you need to be lifted up? Also – who are those people that you are there for – that you lift up – that you support and encourage?” No matter how much time goes by, there are certain people in your life that you can call, and it’s like you pick up right where you left off. Consider these people when thinking of your close circle. “I have a dear, sweet friend named Martine. About a month ago, she was talking about something, and said – ‘you can’t pour from an empty pitcher.’ I thought about that every single day, my friends.” According to Jeff, part of your self-care should be about being grateful for the people in your life that give you support and love – and that you give support and love in return. This will fill the aforementioned pitcher. Choose the people who truly understand you, and who are not afraid to call you out when you make a mistake. “Do you have two or three trusted confidants in your life? If you do, you are a rich person,” he said. If Jeff wanted to give you a dollar, would you want four quarters or 100 pennies? “You would probably say four quarters, right? You want to know why? Because less is more. Reach out to your close circle and let them know that you value and appreciate them. That’s a good thing.” Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker. Go HERE. Check out Jeff’s new nonprofit, THE JEFF YALDEN FOUNDATION. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289. For a limited time, you can own Jeff’s new book, Your Life Matters, for only $0.99 on KINDLE. SUBSCRIBE to The BOOM Podcast. JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook Group and share your BOOM moments with us!
What are you doing to take care of yourself? According to mental health speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden, most of tend to get so busy “on the grind” – with work, family obligations and myriad other daily activities – that we forget about the value of self-care. There was a time in Jeff’s life when he thought self-care was selfish, but no more. A little “you time” is essential for achieving a healthy balance in your life. In episode 45 of The Boom Podcast – Jeff lays out Day Two of his 28-Day program about Living a Life of Gratitude. Are you ready? THE GRATITUDE JOURNAL “I want to encourage you to create a gratitude journal,” said Jeff. “You can do it in a physical journal. You can even do it on your smartphone. I use [an application] called Evernote, where I have all of these notebooks and notes and everything. I put everything in there. The process is simple, but it can be trickier than you might think. “Every single day, I want you to focus on one thing that you are grateful for toady – and no day can ever be a repeat of the day before. I challenge you to try it.” As Jeff recorded the video for what was to become this podcast episode, he thought about how grateful he was for anybody that was going to choose to listen to his message. “As I am sitting here right now, and as my heart is speaking to you and I am looking in the camera – I see the reflection of the water behind me and the beautiful clear skies. How beautiful is that!” He was sitting outside of his house, on a beautiful patio chair with his pool behind him. He was at liberty to light his Tiki torches if he wanted to – or fire up the barbecue. “This is my home. This is my four corners – my four walls,” he said. Jeff’s challenge is this: Every day, start looking for little things that you appreciate – and you will become aware of more and more of these as you go. “I don’t want you to go through life and take these things for granted,” he said. Remember: No day can be a repeat. You need to search yourself until you discover more things to be grateful for. Jeff does more than 200 presentations per year, and sometimes this grind is exhausting – and he is always forthcoming and transparent about living with mental illness – but he cited his friend, writer and speaker John Crudele, who once told him to “appreciate that you get to feel.” “I think another point of gratitude that I want to share with you is this: Give yourself permission to not have to be present in whatever moment it might be. I hope that makes sense to you.” Create a gratitude journal. It could be a physical journal, or it could be on your digital device. “If it’s on a smartphone, we’re kind of invested in typing it out. If it’s a physical journal, then when you write, you are actually slowing down how your brain processes this – and I think if you have a physical journal, you are able to take it more in and appreciate it more.” But sometimes creating a notebook on a smartphone is a lot easier. Whatever method you use – start tonight. List just one thing you are grateful for. “Tomorrow, I want you to set a reminder to come up with something else that you are grateful for – and I just want one thing. I want you to put down what you are grateful for – and the WHY you are grateful for it,” he said. Be specific. “I am grateful that I am sitting on my porch, and I am grateful I’ve got the reflection of the water in my pool – and the beautiful sky behind me. It’s 70-something degrees, and I am able to just sit out here in beautiful Myrtle Beach and just enjoy this. I am grateful for Janet, my fiancée. When you do your gratitude journal, Jeff wants you to get deep with the reasons you are grateful. “Every single day, set a reminder to come up with something. And I promise you that you are going to start to appreciate the beautifully cut grass. You will start to appreciate trees that you haven’t noticed before – the walkway leading up to your house or place of work. You might start appreciating little things about your neighbors. You might start appreciating that although the dogs can get on your nerves sometimes – you start to appreciate that unconditional love that you get from them.” Start your gratitude journal now. Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker. Go HERE. Check out Jeff’s new nonprofit, THE JEFF YALDEN FOUNDATION. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289. For a limited time, you can own Jeff’s new book, Your Life Matters, for only $0.99 on KINDLE. SUBSCRIBE to The BOOM Podcast. JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook Group and share your BOOM moments with us!
Beginning with episode 44 of his BOOM Podcast, Amazon bestselling author and mental health speaker Jeff Yalden has been laying out simple, daily messages about living a life of gratitude. Gratitude is a key component of a life well lived, bringing us into a state that makes us part of a bigger picture and allowing us to be receptive to the many astonishing and surprising moments that we might not have recognized without it. If you follow and implement the daily messages about gratitude in this 28-day program, your life will change.
APPRECIATIONSometimes we get so caught up in our routine that we forget to appreciate the simple act of being present. On a Saturday not too long ago, Jeff found himself at home in the Myrtle Beach area for a couple of days. He and fiancée Janet had just finished working out and decided to make a run to the local Walmart to do some food shopping. Both Jeff and Janet were having a good day. When it came time to head through the cash register aisle, the thought hit Jeff that many people go through these lines on autopilot – to the point sometimes that they don’t even know if the person checking them out was male or female, young or old. “Because it’s not important, we don’t pay attention,” he said. “We are we are just like – ‘get the food through, give me my receipt and I’m out of here.’” But at that moment, he was having a small conversation with the lady at the register – and he stayed present in the moment. Her name was Alexis – and he was sure to look her in the eye, acknowledge her name, thank her and tell her that he hoped she had a nice day. “That little gesture is about us being present in the moment and appreciating the people around us,” he said. “I don’t know what it may have done for her, but what it did for me was that, for the rest of the day, my mood was enhanced.” Jeff made a conscious effort to stop and appreciate the people that he otherwise might have been too rushed to even pay attention to – and since then, he has been sharing this story in his speaking engagements. “It’s about appreciation for people that come into your life – even just randomly.” Soon after this, he found himself driving through Wisconsin to a speaking gig. He pulled into a rest area to use the bathroom – and as he was walking out of the restroom area, he noticed an older gentleman washing the windows. He decided to acknowledge him as well. “I said, ‘Sir – thank you. The bathrooms are immaculate,’ and he is just washing the windows like, ‘mm-hmm.’ I get in my car and I thought to myself that his response was probably because he is not used to people stopping and acknowledging him for the work that he does.” Why was this guy’s response different? Why was he so blasé? “Think about it. Here’s a gentleman – probably retired. This is maybe a part time job, or maybe he works for the state or the city. His job is to clean the bathrooms in the rest area and do the windows. Think about the hundreds of people that walk past him every day and don’t even make eye contact or acknowledge him. How is he supposed to respond when he is not used to this?” Jeff thought about how sad is it that most every single day, we are so anxious to get where we have to go that we don’t pay attention to the little things. Someone cuts us off as we’re changing lanes and we get upset. We want to get where we are going as quickly as possible. We’re anxious getting into the store and anxious getting out. “We’re late going here because we have to do this or do that – and so, being late – we don’t even pay attention to these little things,” he said. In the next 28 days of the Boom Podcast, Jeff is sharing daily, actionable principles to help you bring gratitude into your life. Today, simply stop and appreciate the little things – those small exchanges that make us feel connected to others. “I think that’s pretty awesome,” he said. “Let’s give respect to people and we will get respect back.” Some people might not return the respect, but Jeff says that’s not our issue. That’s their issue. Also – when we give respect, some people might not give us respect back. That’s not our issue. That’s their issue. “Understand this: We can’t change people, places and things. However, that doesn’t change the fact that what this does for us is really about self-care.” Gratitude is self-care. Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker. Go HERE. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289. For a limited time, you can own Jeff’s new book, Your Life Matters, for only $0.99 on KINDLE. SUBSCRIBE to The BOOM Podcast. JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook Group and share your BOOM moments with us!
Jeff Yalden and Mike Veny are two of the top mental health speakers in the country. They have also been friends for some time. Yalden hosted Veny over Thanksgiving for a couple days at his home in Murrells Inlet, just outside beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In addition to enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, this Mastermind duo talked shop, touching on such topics as mental health advocacy, suicide prevention, self-care and more. On the following Friday, Yalden came outside to his patio and found Veny in the process of finishing up a journaling session. This was the perfect opportunity to fire up the video camera for an impromptu conversation about the importance of journaling as a component of self-care. The following is a digest of that conversation: YALDEN: We’ve heard about journaling and it’s being important. Why do you do it, and why is it important? VENY: Journaling is something that I have learned to do on a daily basis. It’s become a habit. Some days, I wake up, and one of the first things I do is sit there with my black coffee and journal for about a half-hour. And I journal for a variety of reasons: One of the things I have learned about myself if that emotions and thoughts are sometimes conversations going on in our heads, and it’s important to learn to process them in healthy ways. A lot of times, when I am stressed about something, I have learned that when I start journaling, [there is] actually something going on at a much deeper level than what I think it is – and journaling allows me a way to explore something that I am feeling and put it out there on paper. Just that simple act alone can be enough to give me forgiveness around an issue from the past, or something that is happening recently – or even celebrate something that I am happy about. I just think it’s really important to do that, and it’s a form of what I call “showing up for yourself.” I show up for myself so I can be emotionally available to other people. The other thing that I do when I journal is [that] I take time to write out things that I am grateful for. Gratitude is so important, and I know that, Jeff – you totally believe in gratitude. We can spend a lot of time thinking and talking about things that we hate, that we don’t like, that we are upset about – that we want to change, that happen to us – whatever. It’s important to important to discuss that stuff – but it’s also important to focus on the good things in life, because that can really change your perspective. That’s one of the reasons I journal. YALDEN: How often should you journal? How often should people sit back and reflect and do that self-care/journaling? It’s important that you want to make yourself use the [phrase] “emotionally available.” What would you recommend for people and how often should they journal for themselves? VENY: I journal every day. I believe that people should get into the practice of that. It’s just important for anybody. I use a Moleskine journal, which is available everywhere. But I like these journals because the pages are easy to write on, and I also write with a Pilot G2 gel pen. The reason I bring that up is because having the right writing utensils for journaling has made it much easier to make it a habit. I believe that everyone should just try to do it once a day. Start by doing it for five minutes. Ask yourself, “how am I feeling,” and just write it out. Also ask yourself what three good things happened in your life – and just write it out. I guarantee you, even just five minutes on it will dramatically change your perspective on the day. YALDEN: When you sit down to journal and you are taking everything – these emotions – out of your head and you are putting it on paper. One of the reasons why they say journaling is important is because you are slowing down your brain processing. So now you are taking it out of your head and you are putting it on paper. Do you ever find that this process can become emotional? VENY: Absolutely. I love what you said about [journaling] slowing down your thinking. I think that’s good for me and for everyone out there – to have your thinking slow down. It becomes really emotional. Sometimes, it becomes so emotional that I can feel the pen almost pushing through the paper and ripping it – because I am so angry at something that I am writing, or something that is coming out – but it’s important. When I first started doing this, I got very scared, because I figured if I keep doing this – and kept writing about my feelings – that just painful stuff was going to come out and that I was going to lose it. But what has actually happened is the opposite: Through letting out these painful emotions in the journal – a lot of times, I finish journaling, and I feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders. The other thing that has been really interesting that has happened just recently is that I have started becoming excited about writing down the painful stuff. I believe that once you get started, it really becomes, I am just going to say, an addiction that’s really all about self-care and processing those uncomfortable feelings that we love to run away from. Really important to do. YALDEN: So journaling isn’t just about what’s really good – it’s not necessarily about what’s really bad – I think journaling is about where are you in that moment – where are you in moments from yesterday – but you want to write about today. Journaling is about where you see yourself – or maybe what you want to work on – or what you are feeling. What do you do when you sit down and journal, but you don’t really know what to write about? Do you not journal? Or – why is it important to continue when you don’t know what to write about? VENY: Guess what – that happens [to me] every single day. The key is to start writing something. I typically start with writing the date. That’s it. And where I am. For me, I fly a lot, so a lot of times I’ve gone from New York to Los Angeles. I love to put in NYC to LAX – and I learned that from author and speaker Michael Hyatt. Just simply writing the date and where I am could actually be all I need to get the process going – because once you start actually writing, things just come out of you. It’s almost as if the journal magically writes itself. I love that about journaling. One thing I suggest to people is that you can write about dreams that you have. You can write about goals, or everyone’s favorite – ideas. We all have tons of ideas – an idea for what to do on the house – or what to do for the holidays – or what to do for your business next year – or whatever it is in your life. I think it’s important to write those things out and get them off your mind [and into] something that’s tangible. And you’ll be surprised. The more you start doing that, things that you want to happen in your life – forget about processing, mental health issues, emotions, depression, anxiety – forget about that for a second. Forget about gratitude. The simple act of just writing stuff down that’s on your mind will also allow you to have your ideas manifest into something, and to maybe work out maybe challenges that you are having at work, or a problem that you are trying to solve. I think it’s important just to do it – not just for gratitude and emotions – but also for your ideas and dreaming. YALDEN: My friends, don’t be afraid to write down what you are happy about. Don’t be afraid to write down what you have to work on. The most important thing is that we keep working to become better versions of ourselves for the people that are in our lives. For more information about Jeff, go HERE. Check out Jeff’s new website for his nonprofit, The Jeff Yalden Foundation. For more about Mike Veny, go HERE. Order Jeff’s new book, Your Life Matters, for only $0.99 on AMAZON. [Limited-time offer].
Last month, mental health speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden traveled to Cresco, Iowa at the invitation of Becky and Mike Bina. Their son, Kyler, made the forever decision to end his life in April, at just 16 years old – and despite the crushing and tragic loss of their son, the couple decided to open their hearts and give back to their community by devoting their efforts to suicide awareness. Over two days, Yalden spoke to parents and to students in the Crestwood school community and participated in a suicide awareness walk. “When I left Cresco, I left the beautiful family of Mike Bina and Becky Bina and their wonderful extended family. Their son Kyler pulled the trigger on April 17, leaving behind two notes; one for mom and dad, and the other for his girlfriend of six months. I have many thoughts and feelings as I learned so much about his story and the family. Parents nor family are to blame, but they’ve had to and continue to pick up the pieces. I could share so much more, but it doesn’t change that that Kyler is forever gone,” Yalden said. The walk itself included 200 families and friends whose lives have been affected by suicide. “I’ve witnessed the unfathomable pain of too many parents having lost a child to suicide,” he said. I’ve sat in their kitchens sometimes into the early morning hours in many homes. Wherever the final and forever decision was made, I’ve experienced the unexplainable feeling that still moves the energy of that space.” As a suicide prevention and intervention expert – and as a person who struggles with mental illness himself – Yalden knows the subject from the inside out. “I’ve been there, but knew I’d never pull the trigger. I know about mental illness. I love being able to make sense in a way doctors and psychiatrists can’t,” he said. He has long said that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem – and those considering suicide might not stop to think about the emotional pain their families and friends will go through for the rest of their lives as they pick up the pieces. “Think about the financial burden. The expense of a suicide is beyond your comprehension and in most cases, will financially ruin a family if you’re not properly insured and prepared.” Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. “There is help,” he said. “All you have to do is ask – and whatever it is you’re dealing with, you will get through it – but it’s never worth ending your life over.” For those going through a tough patch, Yalden encourages them to consider all options, breathe, and know that they are loved. “You don’t need to live in this pain. You can ask for help and get help. You can work through whatever you’re going through. Trust in a close and trusted adult. Trust your parents. Parents, be patient. Listen. Validate their feelings because our children only know what they know. They feel what they feel. They need you. They need to be heard.” Getting the word out that there is hope is a high priority for Yalden. “I have sat in bedrooms where the final decision was made. I don’t want to visit another family in their kitchen, feeling the pain and answering the questions that they wish they knew the answers to. I don’t want to feel the pain a parent or a school community feels when they knew this didn’t have to happen.” Ask for help. Reach out and help a friend. Help a family. Know mental illness is all our responsibility. Let’s not be afraid to talk about it. “Mental illness is going to be the greatest healthcare crisis of our time. It’s important that we start getting comfortable talking about it – because if we don’t get comfortable talking about it, we’re not going to be able to make any progress.” He said that mental illness is something that might not be important to a family until somebody in that family is suffering – and then it becomes all too important. Yalden can’t stress enough that problems come and go, but suicide is forever. “One of the things that I have really come to learn about teenagers is that they live in the here and now – the right now. When something happens – it might be severe and there might be consequences – but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world.” Take time to think. “If you are thinking about that forever decision, remember that, while it might end the pain for you – it’s just now starting for all your family, friends and loved ones. They have to live the rest of their lives picking up the pieces – wondering if there was something more that they could have done. Mike Bina, Kyler’s father, had this to say in a Facebook post on October 13: “I would like to thank everyone that made today possible. The support that my family has received from our community means so much to us. Today is a day that I will always remember with hopes that kids, teachers and community had the opportunity to learn how to deal with emotional distress and make themselves better in the process. Jeff Yalden spoke to 600+ students and many more instructors and faculty today with emotion and heart. I truly believe that he touched a lot of souls today. Jeff expressed to me how impressed he was with our students, school and community. It just goes to show what a great place it is that we call home.” For more about Jeff Yalden, click HERE. To book Jeff now to speak at your school, event or facility, call 800-948-9289. SUBSCRIBE to The BOOM Podcast.
In episode 47 of The BOOM Podcast, Amazon bestselling author and mental health speaker Jeff Yalden spoke from the heart about his struggles with mental illness as well as his views on the state of mental health in the United States. The one key fact Yalden wants those struggling with mental health issues to understand is this: Living with mental illness does not mean that you are crazy. “I think what makes you crazy is when you don’t recognize, or you are not aware of your mental illness,” he said. “Many of you know that I recently had an episode I haven’t had in maybe 15 years – and then I realized that I hadn’t been taking one of my medications.” He thinks this great, because sometimes when we take our medication, we start to feel good and we can potentially fool ourselves into believing that we no longer need it. “I’ll tell you what: I’ll be on medication forever,” he said. Over the years, Yalden has met many struggling people who say that they don’t need medication or therapy because that stuff is for “sick” people. “Listen: If you have cancer – God forbid – you go and get chemotherapy, and chemotherapy I hope will make you feel better and free you of cancer. If you need glasses, you get an exam, and the eye doctor prescribes you glasses.” We must stop stigmatizing mental illness and see it for what it is: A medical condition that can be treated and managed, like an allergy or diabetes. Yalden is a man who lives with mental illness every day and is deeply passionate about mental health. “My friends, it has really affected my life. And I think it affected my life when I was much less aware of what I was going through,” he said. After going through a divorce, Yalden took a hard look at himself in the mirror and asked himself honestly what he had to do with the failure of the marriage. “It’s a powerful place to be. I realized that my mental illness was much greater than the respect that I ever gave it.” He continues to look in the mirror daily – not focusing on how he looks, but rather on who he is. “I think when you really address those issues, that doesn’t make you crazy. It makes you a leader and a role model – somebody that many people can look up to. If you are being transparent about struggling with the same issues that other people are suffering with, that’s a good thing.” According to Yalden, mental illness is going to be the greatest public health crisis of our time. “It’s not a family issue anymore. It’s an economic issue, and if you and I are unwilling to talk about it, we are not going to make progress,” he said. “Let’s stop being part of the problem – stigmatizing mental illness – and let’s look to be the solution for people.” Yalden realizes that many of us are not suffering from mental health issues. We all get bummed out occasionally or have days when we’re feeling down. But then there are issues like major depression and dysthymia – a persistent and chronic form of depression that some folks don’t even realize they have. “I am not going to negate what depression is for some versus what it is for others, but whether we have mental illness or we don’t – we have a responsibility because we all know someone who is suffering. The best thing that we can do is to support them in their journey – but if they are unwilling to get the help that they need, then I will be the first one to say, ‘I can’t support you if you are not willing to get help.’” If your loved one is willing to get the help they need, get in their corner. “Support them. Encourage them. Tell them that there is nothing to be ashamed of because they are going to therapy and taking medication. – nothing to be ashamed of that you take medication. Let them know you are proud of them because they are taking that big step.” When a person can admit that they live with mental illness, the prospect of reaching out for help becomes much less daunting. And Yalden knows how daunting mental illness can be. “It’s embarrassing. It’s scary. It’s frightening. It’s humiliating and it’s downright hard – because you have some days when you just don’t want to get out of bed. You have some days where you just want to cry, and you don’t understand why you see these people smiling.” He said that for those who live with mental illness, smiling is hard – but when you see someone smiling, just smile too. And remember: Self-care is not selfish. “If you live with mental illness and you are seeing a therapist, it’s like being healthy and going to the gym every day. That is self-care – and if you are going to continue to stigmatize the people who live with mental illness – you are part of the problem. For more information about Jeff Yalden, visit www.jeffyalden.com Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289.
On Thursday, October 5, mental health speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden spoke at the Pasco County, Florida chapter of NAMI – the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Yalden said NAMI is a nonprofit that helps millions of Americans who live with mental illness every single day According to its website, there are nearly 1,000 NAMI state organizations and NAMI affiliates across the country and NAMI is “nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health.” NAMI is likely active in your community – raising awareness about mental illness while “providing support and education that was not previously available to those in need.” Yalden believes that mental illness is quickly becoming the greatest public health crisis of our time. “What was really great is that this was the first time that I got to speak to a NAMI organization,” he said. “I have a reputation of being a teen/youth mental health speaker. I am trying to get more into the adults as well, because if adults don’t start accepting mental illness as an illness, it’s going to be a lot harder to do our work with the youth and beyond. We need to attack this today, to make tomorrow better – to make mental illness less stigmatized in society.” He said the bottom line is that mental health isn’t necessarily just a family issue anymore. It is an economic issue and we are all responsible. “It’s really up to all of us to start getting comfortable being uncomfortable talking about mental health,” he said. Yalden said he had an awesome time, and that he was honored to have had the opportunity to share his heart with them. He spoke to people that, like him, are living with mental illness. He also spoke to community influencers, police officers, hospital workers and folks who work in the mental health field – validating the importance of what they do every day. Before every speaking event, Yalden makes it a point to gather his thoughts, to pray and to center himself so that he can be present and with his audience. Earlier, he contemplated running out and buying some nice clothes for the event, but if he did, he thought that would change who he is. Yalden speaks in casual clothing. That’s who he is. “Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to be who other people want us to be, and when you try too hard to do that, you end up hurting yourself. As a result, I would probably do my audience wrong. The last thing I want to do is to do my audience wrong.” In his presentation, Yalden laid it all out – including the time when his marriage of 17 years ended in divorce and he found himself in front of the mirror. Then and there, he asked himself what he had to do with the split. That question in that moment made a profound impact on him. “That was the most powerful place I think I have ever been in my life. I realized at that moment when I looked in the mirror that my mental illness was greater than I ever expected it to be,” he said. Yalden is diagnosed with major depression, bipolar II disorder and PTSD. His goal in living with mental illness is to be transparent and to live with authenticity and to work on himself every day and live in a way that shows mental illness, when treated – like chemotherapy for cancer – can result in a healthy life. “Folks, as I travel all over the world – 200 days a year – I still see my therapist twice a month. I take my medication. I have come to learn that self-care is not selfish. It’s very important.” Life happens for us – not to us. Yalden laid out three important points for daily living:
- Is my life meaningful?
- Is my life fulfilling?
- Is my life rewarding?
Right here on this blog, youth motivational speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden has been laying out the daily principles from his new workbook and planner, The BOOM 28 Day Boot Camp: Creating a Life of Success. Find Motivation. Crush Goals. Overcome Obstacles. Live with Purpose. If you have been thinking about getting serious with BOOM Boot Camp, there is no time like the present. Start HERE. If you have been putting in consistent work on the 27 previous days, congratulations! You are well on your way to creating your life of success – and you are ready to go to work on the final step – Day 28”
Discipline Your Time“If it’s important to you, you will make the time,” Yalden said. “That’s the bottom line.” Don’t even think about saying that you are going to wait until Monday or that you are going to start on January first. It doesn’t work that way, according to Yalden. “If you say those things, you’re not really committed.” If you are not committed, go back to Day One. If it’s important, you will make the time. It it’s important, you will make this a priority. Discipline yourself to make time to focus on you. “Every single day, I want you to create your to-do list. Every single morning, you look at your to-do list. At night, take another look at your to-do list. Cross out what you’ve completed and rewrite it, or wait until morning and rewrite things then, whatever you do. What is not completed, you move to the next day.” It’s not complicated. Everything that is not completed gets moved over to a new sheet of paper. If you want to go paperless, Yalden recommends the Evernote app. “I love Evernote. Download. Use it. Create notebooks and make all your notes there,” he said. “You just simply, ‘Yep, I did this – delete. What’s next,’ – and just keep a to-do list continually going.” Yalden can’t make the point strong enough when he says that if something is important to you, then you are going to make it a habit. “Listen, folks: Nothing changes if nothing changes. I want you to choose right now to make changes in your life. I gave you 28 Days for you to refocus, reengage and to make a plan. Let’s not complicate it. From the very beginning, I said to concentrate on just one thing.” If you spread yourself too thin with vague goals and halfhearted attempts at productivity, Yalden said you will come to the end of the year and realize you didn’t do anything. In one month – 28 Days – I challenged you to pick one thing. Use the 28 Days to focus on that task and complete that task. At the end of the 28 Days, you can go back and pick another thing. Just use the same method that I gave you from Day One to Day 28. Discipline Your Time with a set wake-up time and a set bedtime. “Discipline the time when you take a lunch break, and even what you do during your lunch break. We discipline time for things like our kids, our significant others and work – but when we have free time, we don’t ever really discipline that time.” Yalden wants you to discipline your free time to get the things done that you have to get done. “When you have ‘me time,’ discipline it. Make it prioritized and focus on your tasks,” he said, adding self-care is not selfish. On this final day of the BOOM Boot Camp, remember these points:
- Get your sleep.
- Work on your nutrition
- Be present. Be engaged.