Yesterday I spoke to an audience of educators in Ottawa at the CECMH Conference about the importance of creating a culture of sharing thoughts and feelings in their classrooms so that mental health concerns can be identified early on avoiding the long term consequences of developing more severe mental health challenges. While it seems like a simple piece of advice, it is still a challenge for people in our society to talk openly about their true thoughts and feelings. I asked educators to imagine the effect on children if this type of behaviour of not talking and sharing true thoughts and feelings was not role modelled to them? You can only imagine how the stigma of not sharing true thoughts and feelings is perpetuated and the language around expressing ourselves is silenced. What I reminded teachers is that no life is devoid of ups and downs but we have conditioned ourselves to expect only the highs in life and to not talk about things that don't reflect that things are ok. This reminded me of a great book I read, "The How of Happiness" by Sonja Lyubomirsky which approaches the understanding of happiness through a scientific model demonstrating that happiness is something that we create, not something that is given to us. Thus, by learning to talk and share we learn the skills we need to build resilience to life's challenges creating opportunity for happiness/balance in one's life. So to summarize, be ok with the down times in life but make sure you talk about them , share your concerns to unburden yourself and realize that you are not alone in these thoughts and feelings and in the long run know that you are laying the building blocks to healthy coping strategies to being more resilient to what life throws in front of you.