Over and over again, I hear and read about the benefits of gratitude. From Oprah to Brené Brown, from Valorie Burton to Arianna Huffington, folks keep talking about the joy, contentment, peace, serenity and happiness that come with acknowledging all the blessings that one has. They tout its benefits at all times, but especially during challenging times. I’ve tried the gratitude journal. I even did the 100 Happy Days Challenge last winter. But honestly, it’s nearly impossible for me to consistently be grateful during the winter months when my depression is at its worst. The chemical reactions happening in my brain that impact my mood, energy level and outlook are stronger than any positivity that accompanies saying thank you. For me, the practice of anticipation is a powerful happiness trigger during those times. Just thinking of something good that is coming can bring a smile to my face, lift my mood and make me feel more hopeful.
So, I have been dismayed over the last few weeks that my anticipation practice hasn’t been working. Thinking about my upcoming week – and all the great things that it will bring – has become less and less energizing of late. It’s partially, because I am getting used to being nice to myself. The knowledge that I’m going to spend two hours in a museum isn’t thrilling as it was when I hadn’t been to one in months. Valorie also talks about the diminishing returns we get as we get accustomed to the god life.
I’ve continued reading Happy Women Live Better and trying out the happiness triggers she recommends. Surprisingly, reflecting on my blessings has been really helpful. Perhaps, it is a good antidote to the anxiety that I am feeling during yet another period of transition as my primary education contract draws to a close. I’m worried about the future. Yet each time I remember God’s faithfulness to me, I feel a little better. When I think of all the times that I have found a job, or made a connection, or been able to pay the mortgage despite no full-time job, it brings comfort, hope and joy.
So, I will be breaking from my weekly Anticipation posts, and transitioning into my weekly Celebrations. Here’s the first list:
I’m seeking suggestions of Spanish-language books I can read. If you have one, please leave it in the comments section below. Adios!
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.