2019-march-28

Mental wellness challenge

Last week I challenged you to make a list of 10 supports, write them down and put the list in a place where you would be able to access it and use it if you needed to. I hope that you were able to come up with 10 people or organizations that could fill that role and that you did indeed make a note of those supports.

 

For me, knowing that I have those resources to call on when I am in need of support is a very important piece of my mental wellness.

 

This week I’d like to challenge you again.

 

I’d like to challenge you to “intentionally” identify three things every day that you are grateful for, think about them and write them down. For many folks, this will seem contrived – and that’s fine. Take a piece of paper or some sticky notes and write down three things in your experience that you are grateful for.

 

For example:

– I am grateful that winter is over and the weather is warmer. I don’t like being cold and the warmth of the sun feels great on my face!

– I am grateful that I have this opportunity to share my journey with everyone who wants to listen. I have a burning need to do something to cast off the stigma surrounding mental illness and sharing my journey is an important step in creating dialog.

– I am grateful for the little birds that eat from my feeder. Those little birds give me so much joy just by being birds. Watching them, thinking about them gives me pause to realize that LIFE IS GOOD!

 

The things you are grateful for are for you! You can share them with others if you want, but they are for you! I have found that my gratitude is really a gift to myself.

If I am grateful for something, it means that I have appreciation for the contribution that “thing” makes in my life. When I am grateful – I am reminded that my life isn’t “out there”, its “in here”.

 

When I am depressed, I tend to live “out there”. Nothing – nothing – nothing good exists. Taking a couple of minutes to be “intentionally – purposefully” grateful helps to drag me from focusing on the darkness to looking for the light. My depression takes my joy away. Making myself look for things that I can be grateful for helps me change my focus.

 

This seemingly simple challenge can be really, really difficult for me when I am depressed. I find it excruciating to look for “good things in my life”. It is when this exercise is most difficult, seemingly impossible, that I can refer to my pile of sticky notes, my journal, my pieces of paper, my online notepad, or wherever it is that I have kept my “things to be grateful for” and look through them. There might just be three things in the pile that I can “re-use” on those days.

 

Being grateful creates connections too. I don’t say “Thank you” as often as I should. I don’t recognize my gratitude as often as I should. I too often go through a day and take the actions of others for granted. When I share my gratitude with the people I interact with, it helps to make me feel more connected.

 

Being grateful… intentionally thinking about things to be grateful about… is an important part of my mental wellness strategy.

 

So – three things, each day, being intentional, purposeful.

 

I challenge you.

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