Greetings and Salutations, my dearest Blog Readers!
Today we are talking about one of the most powerful tools in my positive mental health arsenal: An Attitude of Gratitude
This is something most people who suffer from Anxiety and Depression are told by doctors, counselors, friends, etc: An Attitude of Gratitude will help you.
I never really understood it, and honestly, it always seemed like bullshit. The same advice that says to work out, to eat healthy, meditate and do yoga, journal daily…
You know…The stuff I now encourage everyone to do because it totally helps.
So, let’s talk about it. An Attitude of Gratitude can be simple, to start, and it builds sooo quickly. The habit forms and before you know it, you are constantly expressing gratitude for everything in your life.
And just like that the mental health gets better. I can’t stress enough how naturally it makes everything better.
I am not a doctor, just a mentally unwell chick, but I have lots of experience with being mentally unwell, and I have worked hard on my attitude of gratitude to make myself better…and since other people are even noticing my improved mental state, it feels smart to share the tips I can share so maybe we can all be a little bit better, a little bit healthier, and therefore, a little bit happier.
Because we deserve that.
So it can start small. Little things in your life that you are grateful for.
Maybe, in this terrible economy, you are grateful for your job. Even if your job isn’t the ideal one you want, having a way to pay your bills and stay afloat when so many are struggling, is something to be grateful for.
Being unemployed but receiving unemployment funds, is also something to be grateful for.
Or maybe you have a house, apartment, home somewhere to lay your head down at night. As unemployment rates stays, so does the unhomed population. Being grateful for what you have is important to keep you connected with the world around you, to keep perspective about the situation you find yourself in. This does NOT mean your problems aren’t bad enough to be bummed about, no, this is simply an exercise in finding other things that you can focus on for the sake of your mental health. This isn’t some bogus advice made from someone who doesn’t struggle. I know shit is terrible. But, you can help yourself a bit, by focusing energy on what you are grateful for. I promise.
Gratitude can also be as simple as “I am grateful this food is so delicious and is nourishing my body” This is a good one because not only are you building your gratitude muscles, you are also showing your body you are worth delicious and nourishing food, which can also help fight depression. Check out my previous blog about fighting depression waves when you feel them coming on.
An attitude of gratitude can be you expressing gratefulness over your friends, your home, your job, your food, your clothes…any small or big thing you can be grateful for.
Even bad stuff. I am grateful for lessons I have learned, even if they hurt like hell. In my most recent relationship, it fucking HURT, HURT bad in so many ways, for so much longer than “the end”. But I am soooooo fucking grateful for that experience because I was able to grow so much in a short time. I was able to see what I want, need, and desire, I was able to learn I should have trusted my instincts from the start. I knew so early on it wouldn’t work but I blamed my commitment phobia on these “intrusive thoughts”…
Now I am grateful for the ability to see those thoughts for what they were, and I know moving forward, I should trust my gut.
I can’t ignore those feelings, not when they are so right, and not when I have been working so hard on myself in therapy to BE better at knowing these feelings.
You can be grateful for small things, like how good a candle smells. I currently have a candle Kim bought me burning and my entire house smells like autumn, perfect for the first day of October. I am thankful for not only the smell and the candle, but for Kim giving me the candle to begin with.
You can be grateful for how good your coffee is in the morning, how well cold water quenches your thirst, or for the wonderful weather you are enjoying.
I find it is also helpful to be grateful for things like your friends, little details about them…and TELL YOUR FRIENDS THESE THINGS.
I am so grateful for Amber, for example, who is the epitome of a boss ass bitch who gets shit the fuck done. She gets shit done, and all with style and class. I am grateful for her friendship, and also her womanly guidance.
I am grateful for JT, and his sense of humor, his calm, sunny demeanor, and him always letting me tag along to go to the store so I don’t pay for Ubers.
I am grateful for my neighbor, who dumps my AC overflow bucket because I always forget to.
I am grateful for my Dungeons and Dragons group!
I am grateful for my job! Not only is it a good job I am getting better at every day, that I can grow with and constantly get better with…I get paid okay and I can work from home. I am SO grateful for the help it has given me with my mental health- Turns out, a LOT of my problems stem from HAVING to leave the house every day.
*Cue my therapist laughing and waving*
Anyways, I say all these examples to say there is always a thing you can fixate on, that isn’t bad, a thing you can be grateful for, and slowly, being grateful for these things can help lessen anxiety and depression, like every other small step thing we can do, like journal, work out, sleep and eat well, etc, but, being grateful can come from you, easily, and help you redirect your thoughts when things get to hard.
You don’t need a journal. You don’t need access to healthy food or a comfortable bed with time to workout and sleep. All you need is your brain, and to be able to see good in things, and express gratitude for them.
It helps. Try it. Comment, DM, or just think to yourself things you are grateful for.
I myself am grateful for each and every one of you reading this. And to myself for writing it.
Thanks for reading,