It’s officially the hottest day of the year and I am incredibly grateful that we currently have two fans on and a freezer full of different ice lollies and ice creams.
It’s been a long 4 months (or more or less, I’ve lost count…) but lately I’ve been trying to help my anxiety by letting things go and focusing on the good points. But its not an easy process even if you don’t have anxiety.
You can wake up full of promise and then you burn your toast, miss all your favourite songs on the radio, get to work – row with your boss, then after hours stuck in traffic, you arrive home as the rain falls – sit on the couch and think ‘What a terrible day!’ The saying goes that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ but finding it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack or dream shoes in your size.
So in trying to find some more positivity in my life and therefore hoping it would help across relationships and at work, I hopped online and bought The Green Gables gratitude set from ‘Not On The High Street’ (as seen here: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thegreengables/product/gratitude-daily-journal ) (Before I carry on – this I not an ad, nor am I recommending you buying one from this site or even this type, its about the idea of gratitude) The books are really easy to use and lay it out beautifully making it a lot easier to get into the habit – turning it into something you enjoy and look forward to doing.
The idea is that with the daily journal, every day you write 3 things that you are grateful for and at the end of the week, pick something that you are most grateful for. Then with the weekly journal, at the start of each week you lay out what you hope to achieve and then at the end of the week write out 10 things you’re grateful for and how you could have improved the week.
At first I struggled to pick 3 things because my mind felt too cloudy, but now, I’m often thinking of more than 3 things and struggle to pick which to write down. I’m slowly learning how important it is to be thankful, even for the small things, whether it’s that you made a really good cup of tea, got to see an old friend or just felt calm and anxiety free for half an hour.
So after two weeks and me practicing daily gratitude, here are some of the things I’ve been grateful for:
1. My friends, my boyfriend and my family – I am surrounded by some amazing people who have helped me through some of my darkest days and no doubt will help me through any that are to come. I wont name individuals but whether they’ve taken me out, texted to check up on me or just tagged me in something funny, they have helped to take the edge off and probably saved me from many more tears.
2. That I can drive – when I was learning, I used to hate it, I’d cry after every lesson and scream at my mum that I was never going to be able to do it. Until one day I could and I haven’t looked back, its still scary and sometimes I want to stop the car and get out (and more than a few times I’ve threatened to throw my boyfriend out) But I’ve never been more grateful to be able to be by the side of those I love in no time, or take myself to the Drs or out to the gym.
3. For food, amazing food – I’ve always been a foodie and even through being ill, treats like peanut butter oreos have been a little light relief. But also I’m grateful for the power it has to help me, if I’m having a rough day I grab a banana and up my intake of turkey and healthy seeds and it can ease the pain. Its not a fix all, but it sure helps to build up that armour.
4. Sweet sweet wifi – when anxiety hits, its amazing the relief talking to someone close can give. When my mum went away I didn’t know how I would cope not being able to just make a brew and talk away my problems, but thanks to the marvel of the internet it was like she was here and any points when things got tough I could reach her within minutes. Plus sometimes when anxiety hits, I can find it incredibly calming to just scroll through twitter and distract myself with instagram.
5. Good news – lots of my amazing friends have graduated recently, many starting jobs, my brother got married and an incredible amount of people I know are now either engaged or pregnant. In a world that is so tough and filled with horror, its so refreshing to see so much happiness being spread and gives me hope that there are nice things around the corner for us all.
Those are just a few of the things I’ve been grateful for, others include good body confidence days, or days when my hair is soft and shines like sunshine (okay maybe not quite), days when my pets actually seem to like me and I get lots of cuddles instead of pushed off the couch to make room for much preferred humans. For the time I laughed so hard at work I thought I’d burst a kidney, for all the good selfies despite feeling awful or even just when I get ten minutes where my anxiety is almost gone.
I’m not suggesting you journal every moment of happiness, but it’s so important to try to find the good in every day, whether it’s big or small it still counts. Anxiety can teach us that we aren’t good enough or that we don’t deserve to be happy but that’s a lie. There is goodness in every day just on some days you may need to dig until you find it but you do deserve it.
Its not a competition, so you don’t need to compare someone else’s silver lining to your own. Some days you’ll have plenty others not so much, but that’s okay too, your day is your own so you find your happiness however it comes.
Plus once you start finding the good things it becomes harder not to see them, and on days when you feel down you can look back and think of all the good things that have happened before and use them to push yourself to keep going, because after all ‘even your worst days only have 24 hours’.