So much in life can go wrong so quickly that at times it seems impossible to recognize the positives. It takes less effort to list off all of the awful things that happened in a day than the good things. And, only focusing on the bad — at least for me — always makes me feel worse. These days, it feels like there is so much pressure and stress with COVID, high school, safety, an election, complex social issues, and everything else that could affect you personally on your shoulders that it can be difficult to remember all of the good in life. On days like this, I find that the best way to shake myself free of the bad vibes is to try to be thankful. So, here are some tips that I have learned over the years to help me focus on the positive and boost my mood.
A gratitude journal is exactly what it sounds like: at some point(s) during the day (I do it right before I go to bed), write down a few things that you are grateful for. Try to set a daily goal number for yourself as well. It can be one, three, five, or twenty-five things that you are grateful for. And, they don’t have to be super deep or complicated. On particularly hard days, sometimes just writing down “clean water” or “a roof over my head” might be all you can muster. But, even reminding yourself of the basic gifts and resources you have available makes a difference.
Spend Time in Nature
Some days it seems like the world is throwing you around, that you’ve lost control over your life, and you are just a leaf tumbling down a stream. On days like this, try finding a moment of stillness to reflect on the things you can control, on what is going well for you. An easy place to find moments of quiet reflection and just that little bit of calm is nature. The leaves are changing colors and drifting lazily off of the trees, and the friendly nip in the air makes it so easy to find something to appreciate and enjoy while provides ample subject matter for reflection.
Say Thank You
Okay yes, this may seem obvious and ridiculous to include since the importance of this has been ingrained in most of our minds by parents and kindergarten teachers, but how often do you say “thank you” when it is not expected of you? Think of all of the people in life that are there to support you: your friends love you, your parents watch out for you, teachers (for the most part) really do try to not make you suffer, maybe a religious or spiritual leader supports you, maybe aunts, uncles, and grandparents have been there for you. You may not have the same things to say “thank you” for as someone else, but you do have something.
So, if you have had a horrible day, try to find one person that was there for you that day, and thank them for their support. It will make your day better, and chances are it will make their day better, too.
For more posts about mental wellness, check out The Season of Change and Ideas For A Mental Health Day.