(Mind Body Green, “19 Ideas to Start & End Your Day with Joy”, Dec. 03, 2013.)
“Starting the day with gratitude and intention will make your entire morning better and seep into the rest of your day. Write down five things for which you are grateful. It seems simple, but it’s a game changer. Focus on the good; abundance breeds abundance.”
Honestly, I never stop to smell the roses. I’m too busy racing ahead. I definitely know that I am incredibly lucky, and that (especially lately) I have a lot of really great things happening in my life. But I haven’t really paused to acknowledge it all and express to myself how much I should be savoring all the things I am blessed with on a daily basis.
I strive to make sure that the people I have in my life feel valued. I have wonderfully supportive people who coach me, run with me, and help me achieve my goals and I try my best to never take them for granted. Deep down, I am afraid that these people might leave me and I never want to give them a reason to.
But apart from that, when it comes to the things I have that I consider more permanent (even though nothing is permanent!) I have a hard time remembering to stop, look around, and appreciate the basic things. I constantly feel stressed, and am always planning and looking toward the future. Though I have many good things going for me, I (like many) have a hard time being happy. I’m not sure if this is a chemical brain defect or what, but I seem to succumb to bouts of sadness for no reason at all. Then I make things worse by getting angry at myself and feeling guilty for being sad when I shouldn’t have anything to feel sad about! In comparison to 90% of the world’s population (or maybe more) I have everything anyone could ever ask for. I have shelter, fresh food, clean water, electricity, internet… I don’t have a single reason to ever be depressed.
Compared to how I felt a year ago, I am much happier. I attribute a lot of the improvement to moving to Portland, surrounding myself with more like-minded positive people, and expanding my life to include working and blogging in addition to being a student. The most significant impact on my mental emotional state came from deciding to focus (with laser-like intensity) on achieving my running goal. Having such a large goal in my life keeps me moving forward and keeps me challenged. In contrast, when I was very depressed I isolated myself. I felt like I was floating nowhere…that no one cared about me, I felt as though I had no purpose and no reason to be alive. I wished that I could be unintentionally killed so that my life could end and I wouldn’t have to do it myself (and feel guilty for causing my family grief). As I write them down, I realize that all those thoughts are very self absorbed, me-me-me type of thoughts. But when I wasn’t thinking straight, I couldn’t see past my self-centeredness.
Starting tomorrow, I am challenging myself to record 5 things that I am grateful for everyday for 21 days (they say it takes that long to form a habit).
I am hoping that this challenge will cause me to pause and reflect on a daily basis. I want to be a more grateful, mindful person. I need to learn how to live in the moment and never take anything that I have for granted because in the next instant, it could be gone. I am publicly posting about my challenge because I realize the power of accountability. In the past I’ve attempted to maintain a ‘gratitude journal’ with no success. I’ll be mini-posting the things I am grateful for everyday for the next three weeks and hopefully my moods and emotions will follow along.