Negativity Intolerant

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The Happiness in your life depends on the quality of your thoughts

Sometimes we all need an attitude makeover.  If you believe like I do your thoughts are incredibly powerful then you may want to try some things to improve the quality of your thoughts.

It’s not easy to think positive, life is challenging at times especially while dealing with mental health issues.  Just like learning a new language or taking up the piano, it takes practice to train your thoughts.  I’m going to share some “positive interrupts” for you to use while you work on thought training.

Some people are lactose intolerant, think of yourself as negativity intolerant.  Negative thoughts are going to cause problems.  When you have thoughts you want to change interrupt them with some of the suggestions below.

★     Even bad days have happy moments.  Look for them.


★     View your tormentors as your mentors.  Everyone has a lesson to teach us.


★     Angry thoughts make a mind messy.


★     Accept what was and what is and you’ll free up positive energy for what will be.


★     Peace and happiness are found now, we cannot have a better yesterday and tomorrow can wait.


★     Worry distracts and it attracts things you don’t want.  Let go of all worry.


★     Exercise your heart by being kind to others.


★     Instead of “what was I thinking” ask “what was I learning”? No beat ups!


★     What you think about is what you attract, think about progress, peace, joy and happiness.

You have the power to improve your level of happiness and it begins with your thoughts.

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Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

How to Deflect Negative Comments


We have all experienced a time when we are interacting with someone and they begin telling us how terrible we are, or they beginning slinging vile words at us.  Whatever the reason, the result is draining on the recipient of this negative delivery. 

I learned this tip from a retired therapist and have shared it with family members in my support groups.  It is the “magic dome.”  When insults are being hurled at me, I try to remember to pull up the magic dome and stop those words from penetrating my space of well-being.  The dome allows me to take time to reflect on what is being hurled at me and assess if there is any validity in what is being said.  If I find there is no validity, then the insult hits the surface of the dome and falls straight to the ground.  If there is some validity, I need to own up to the fact and deal with it at an appropriate time.

For example:  Someone is telling me that I am selfish because I won’t give them $100.00.  I pull up my dome, reflect, find that I don’t have enough money in my account to spare $100.00, and I let this comment slide to the ground.  My next move might be to try to distance myself so that no further negative comments are delivered, or move the conversation to something neutral. 

The real work is in distancing myself emotionally from the anger that is being directed to me by the other person.  I can act like a sponge soaking up other people’s emotions, or I can work at not absorbing these negative emotions.  Distancing is like building a muscle.  The more you exercise, the bigger the muscle.

What is the result when I forget to pull up my dome?  I usually end up with an emotional hangover that can leave me bogged down and tired.  How many of you have experienced emotional hangovers?  It takes days for me to recover from those toxic words.

The beauty of the magic dome is that, it won’t cost you a dime.  Create your own dome.  Make it a superhero shield.


Written by Ramona Winner

Gray Can Be Okay, Danielle Riele


Gray Can Be Okay

Life is full of adjustments. Many of us are often going through several at once. Some adjustments are life changing: getting married or moving for a new job. Other adjustments can be minor: a schedule change or no longer helping a loved one in some way. Whether big or small, life adjustments bring on a lot. Most of us tend to focus on the change itself and forget about all the adjustments that come as a result of that big change. Something as small as finding your new route to work or where to get your groceries can add up. The “gray” in between is hard and I hope you can see that it can be beautiful as well. 

The gray area often marks a time in our life that begins with an ending of some kind: relationship, job, move. This time also marks that we are not at the new beginning quite yet: single, in training for the new job, etc. Since we are in transition, we are often more open. There are many opportunities during this time to learn about ourselves, try something new, meet new people, or just allow ourselves to push through our own discomfort in a new way. 

As people, we often feel most comfortable in routine. So how do we work through our discomfort when we are out of a particular routine? Most of us use our phone immediately to give us a map of directions to the destination we are going, but what if we tried to find that place without a map? Allowing ourselves to go with what feels right takes us to new places, gets us to our destination, and gives us the capability to enjoy the view along the way. So take some deep breaths, remind yourself that you’re in the gray learning phase, and do your best to embrace the change. 

Think about when you ride a roller coaster…you have a very different experience if your arms are up and rolling with the coaster verses clenching on every turn. Your life is filled with tons of “happy accidents” that usually come to light when we allow our arms to be up while rolling with the coaster of life. Think about the parts of your life that were unplanned. If you would have stuck to your original plan, would you have had the same outcome? 


A part of my life journey was growing up with the notion that I was meant to practice law. I allowed myself to take a psychology class my first semester of college and fell in love. Currently, I’m in private practice and have been working as a therapist for eight years! This would not have happened if I would have stuck to my original plan. Allowing myself to open up to new opportunities allowed me to realize my love for helping others. 

My encouragement to you is to see some of your “gray” areas of life and to embrace them as best you can. What can you learn about this time or maybe even appreciate? Try something new or take some deep breaths and put yourself out there in a new way. Your new beginning is around the corner and your added growth will make beautiful icing for that cake of life!

Danielle Riele, MA
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist # 84600
Follow me on Instagram: @danielleLMFT

Finding Connection Through Tea With Strangers?


    Sometimes, when riding the métro to work in the morning, I stare at everyone around me and feel dispirited. I see a sea of bent heads and moving thumbs, the pads of which thump away autonomously on handheld screens. I feel as though we are all existing separately, connected only to our immediate reality by the physicality of our bodies. The vacancy in people’s eyes ties knots in my stomach. I feel alone.

    I grew up in the beautiful tangles of the franco-anglo culture of Montréal. My parents are both immigrants, one from a small town in northern England and the other from Hong Kong. My childhood was happy. I played pretend with my younger sister and our friends in our large suburban backyard for hours on end, making castles out of snow banks; and dreams out of thin air. In high school I developed a tight group of friends and had excellent grades, which led me to have high expectations of self. I filled my time with extra-curriculars of all kinds: dance shows, musicals, rugby and student council. Things were just dandy until they weren’t.

    In University I began to struggle. After being herded like an unsuspecting sheep through the traditional education system, I was becoming painfully aware that it would soon become necessary to make real, tangible decisions about the shape of my future. The immensity of this realization coupled with a staunch desire to succeed and the competitive environment of McGill University kept me awake at night and soon began to keep me in bed throughout the day.

    Depression made me feel like I was sinking in mud. I’d try to lift one foot out, but the other would sink deeper. As someone who always aspired to have it all together , I did not feel comfortable sharing what I was going through with anyone. Shame wrapped its calloused hands around my mouth and kept me silent. It felt that admitting I wasn’t doing well would indicate that I had lost, even though I had no idea what I was trying to win.

    When I did eventually talk about it, it was in a therapist’s office. It took a considerable amount of spilling out the inner recesses of my mind to a professional stranger before I found my footing again. Therapy taught me how to redirect my negative thinking patterns and behaviors. Speaking to a stranger taught me how important the value of human connection is.

    One evening, I stumbled upon an open invitation to collaborate on an initiative that would offer an alternative way to speak to someone: in person, in a cafe, with an empathetic stranger. Sarah, a fellow McGill psychology student, and I connected immediately and she shared her story with me. After spending several days at sea after the ship she was on sank, Sarah struggled with PTSD for years until therapy helped her findways to cope. She continued seeing her therapist even after her symptoms had subsided because she appreciated having an unbiased listener to speak with. We agreed that while therapy is incredibly valuable, it isn’t always what people need. Sometimes people just need someone to listen to them.

    The two of us founded Vent Over Tea , an in-person “listening service” in Montréal that allows people to schedule free Vent Sessions with one of our trained volunteers in a local café. Since its inauguration three years ago, we have had an overwhelming number of people confirm what we suspected: People need to feel heard. People need to connect. The systems that are currently in place don’t afford environments or spaces that readily allow for these types of connection that I truly believe every person craves. What we’ve also realized is that people sometimes need structure in which to make these connections. Vent Over Tea is offering one iteration of this structure in Montréal (we are excited to be launching soon in Sarah’s hometown of Calgary in June!), and we know there are many other ways to open space in similar and effective ways.

    In a recent and invigorating development, we have begun hosting monthly community events in an effort to provide the space and the structure for people to connect as a group in authentic and meaningful ways. We offer people the chance to have a mini vent session with one of our volunteers while also holding space for friends, strangers and neighbors to share coffee, tea and conversation. It has been beautiful to see people sharing and supporting, being vulnerable and holding space for others’ vulnerability.

    Giving people the framework in which to be vulnerable is a powerful tool. I am astounded by the love that comes from our one-on-one vent sessions and the group meetups - not romantic love; but a genuine caring love that is shared amongst all who attend. In these moments, I feel far from alone - as though we are all connected in this shared experience of being human and all that it encompasses: the good, the bad, and every shade in between.

Chloe Chow

Co-Founder of Vent Over Tea

The Benjamin Franklin Effect

Let’s Talk Mental Health

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery





“The best way to get rid of an adversary is to make him your friend”


A smart man indeed was Benjamin Franklin, his accomplishments are many. Of course he was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. And he was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. Just to name a few of them.

Now Ben was not the kind of guy to sit down and be quiet so that everyone would like him. No! He had opinions, ideas and he took actions that created many difficult relationships.  Being the bright man that he was he knew how to turn an enemy into a friend.

Have you ever heard of the Benjamin Franklin Effect?

Overcoming emotional distance in relationships and hurt when things fall out is very very difficult for most of us. It’s easier to avoid and withdraw from people we don’t like and who don’t like us. But that leads to emotional baggage for most of us. What if Benjamin Franklin could teach us how to heal a difficult relationship?

The method is a counterintuitive way to improve relationships with people in your life with whom you may not get along. Think about someone in your life who you don't get on with. A co-worker, a family member, a neighbor or an ex. Establish that you would like to heal the relationship and be cleared of past. Now work out a favor that you would like from this person that would cost them nothing. It could be advice, practical help, a bit of their time, whatever. Approach this person with your request in a positive and honest spirit with the sincere intent of healing the past. 

When we ask someone to do us a favor, we are signaling that we consider them to have something we don't, whether more intelligence, more knowledge, more skills, or whatever. This is another way of showing admiration and respect, something the other person may not have perceived from us before. The thought is this immediately raises their opinion of us and perhaps make them more willing to forgive the past, both because they enjoy the admiration and have genuinely started to perceive our sincere intent to make amends.

You could find the Benjamin Franklin Effect when done in the spirit of true and sincere admiration could open the door to improved and healthier relationships with others and clear up emotional junk you’ve been carrying around from the past. 

Are you willing to try it?  


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Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

Your thoughts; are they a record of the past..


Let’s Talk Mental Health

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery





Your thoughts; are they a record of the past….

or a road map to the future?


What do you believe is possible? Can you trust your thoughts, beliefs and your actions are the things that make up your circumstances? As human beings we have the ability of insight to see where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re are headed. This sounds easy but it is a lot of work to observe ourselves in this way.

And yet we humans possess incredible power to change our futures. To do this we must first observe our thought patterns and understand our thoughts manifest in our lives.

For instance, let’s say you think you’re too out of shape to even begin to eat healthy and become more active. You will find plenty of evidence in your current thought patterns to support this “truth”. 

You have a choice in your thoughts and you can choose to think different way about yourself. In this example you could begin to think about your body moving and enjoying healthy food choices.

Starting right where you are at, you could begin to think about how you want to feel and who you want to be. And to be that person what qualities would need to possess?

  • Honesty

  • Determination

  • Commitment

  • Willingness

  • Discipline

Now look for evidence that supports that you already are those things.  You posses the attributes needed to become the person you want to be. The idea is to continue to collect evidence to support your vision of the future rather than evidence that keeps you stuck in the past.

I’m living proof of this universal truth. Our beliefs can change our health, our relationships and our lives!



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Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse


Perspective, You Are Everything


Perspective…You. Are. Everything!


    Our perception is our reality. Therefore, the differences in how each person may view something can be vastly different. This can be challenging and beneficial depending on how much we work with it. Our perspective individually can also be vastly different depending on the day and how we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. I find that taking a step back, taking a couple of deep breaths, and attempting to view from multiple perspectives can be not only helpful, but often a game changer!

    We have far more power than we often realize. Think about what you may do when a loved one is suffering in some way. We usually will immediately come to their aid, whether physically or in some other capacity. Then we will offer some sort of condolences: “Its going to be okay”, “This will pass”, “Everything happens for a reason”, “It will get better”.  The list can go on and on, really. The point being that we are so kind, helpful, and good at attempting to help that person change their perspective of the current hardship. A big question here is: why is it so hard to do this for ourselves?

    In my practice I ask this question a lot. I will often encourage my clients in hardship to ask themselves what they would tell a friend in the same situation. This is often a tool I encourage them to exercise regularly in their lives outside of our sessions. If the person genuinely tries it, most clients report that it helps a great deal! Changing our perspective can make something challenging not nearly as powerful as it could be.

    Let's sit with an example…Let's say you have been planning a big event that you are very excited about. You have put a lot of time and effort into this event and have been really looking forward to it. It's an outdoor event and everyone you love will be there to join in on the celebration. You want it to be amazing! On the day of the event a sudden, unforeseen storm rolls in creating a very wet, rainy day. In this moment you can easily lose yourself to this forecast and feel that your DAY IS RUINED!! Or, you can take a step back, take a couple of deep breaths [insert ask yourself what you would tell a friend here], and decide how you can continue. This celebration can be magical even with some rain. The hope is that you find that strength that's within you, harness that energy to come up with a plan B, and enjoy your event among the changes.

    Think about the confidence you may gain by shifting your perspective in that example. Coming up with that plan B and enjoying your magical event would provide a mound of confidence! Anyone that would provide any compliment would only add to the greatness you're feeling. Now, if you were able to follow a plan B, but still felt the day was ruined and could not get past it, the compliments wouldn’t matter and no matter how magical, the day would not be the same. YOUR perspective is everything. It feels lovely to have support and empathy from others, but if they do not subscribe to your perspective as their own in some capacity it doesn’t shift the experience nearly as much. The owning of our perspective or the shift in it is where the strength and power often lie.

    We all have this beautiful strength and capability within us. If we can do it for the ones we love and care about, why not apply some of that love, caring, and fresh perspective for ourselves? I encourage you to try this for yourself. Take a step back from the experience and take a couple of deep breaths and see what comes up. What can you do? What IS working? What growth do you still see in yourself even among the hardship? Take the strength that is already there to propel you forward!



Danielle Riele, MA

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist # 84600