Be thankful, be happy
Out of My Mind
Monday, November 19, 2012 8:06 AM
A friend of mine recently told me she had been feeling sad more often than she was happy. She talked to her doctor about it, thinking she would be put on anti-depressants to help her feel better. Instead, her doctor recommended journaling - recording her thoughts at the beginning and end of each day.
The doctor told her to start her morning with a simple routine of enjoying a cup of coffee or tea, devoting 15 minutes to writing in a journal and setting goals for the day. Then, at the end of the day, right before bedtime, to spend another 15 minutes recording all that went right in the day and to add three things she was grateful to have experienced that day.
It took awhile, but not nearly as long as she had anticipated, before she felt happy more often than sad. However, once she changed her way of thinking back over the day and focused on the good things that occurred to her, she began to realize that her life was filled with blessings.
One of her doctor's rules was to never record the negatives in her journal, stressing the importance to "let go" of the bad and focus on the good.
Now, as she reads back over her journal entries, she is reminded of all the good things she has experienced and the challenges and negatives are fading from her memory.
While I am positive this is not the cure for everyone's depression, I do believe it is a good lesson for all of us to remember at this time of year. We really do have so much to be thankful for and sometimes it is easy to forget those things in the midst of all that is stressful and challenging.
Since I devote time each day to writing in my journal, I have tried to implement some of my friend's "prescription" into my writing routine.
Making the positive events become a priority in my journal has changed the way I look back on my day and it helps me relax before crawling into bed at night, leaving those stresses to fade away.
I truly do have a lot to be thankful for including my wonderful friends, my beloved family and a community in which I feel safe and can call home.
This Thanksgiving, my journal entries will be full of blessings - I hope yours is too!