I’ve tried to do this many times. I think about what I’m grateful for and write it down, and, at the time, I don’t necessarily feel happier for doing so. But, I have felt grateful out of nowhere before; so practicing can only be a good thing. On days that I’m really, really low, when I have no motivation or energy, and where anything but sleeping is too much effort, I find it really hard to practice gratitude.
I realised that maybe it might help me to practice acceptance first: acceptance of my current situation, personality, life, problems, pain and feelings, acceptance of my depression, that I feel like shit right now, that my back is in pain and has been for 5 years, acceptance of the fact I have no motivation or inspiration right now.
I first realised the power of acceptance when shivering in the cold, waiting for the bus. I thought ‘just accept the cold, accept it….it’s okay go on, accept it’, then all of a sudden, I released my fight against the cold and I relaxed and felt a bit warmer for a while. So I’m trying to practice that with more aspects of my life.
I have a constant inner conflict inside that takes a lot of energy, which means I end up unhappy and distracted a lot of the time. In fighting my pain and suffering I’m trying to control one part of myself with another part. I want to feel happy and get rid of these bad feelings, and if fighting it doesn’t work (which it never does) I want to run away and escape myself entirely.
But in rejecting/bullying myself this way, it’s like saying to myself: “Stop feeling down, be happy for god’s sake, what’s wrong with you? There’s no reason you should feel depressed, I wish I wasn’t you and I was someone else, someone happier, I wish I had someone else’s life, not this one.”
If I accept my low feelings, stop fighting them and berating myself, accept that I’m the product of my genes and upbringing, and that I can’t help being depressed, I let go of the grip my mind has on itself and life becomes easier to deal with. I feel more compassion for myself, and feel more liberated and validated.
I think to some people, acceptance seems like giving up, giving in, and the other person or situation has won. But if it’s something you can literally do nothing about, and not accepting it causes you more pain, then maybe accepting it would be a healthier/happier choice for you.
Things to practice fuelling your mind with (easier when you have the mental energy to do it):
– Mindfulness (Be mindful of unhelpful thinking styles – more on that in another post).
– Acceptance (When you feel down or upset instead of feeling bad and fighting the feeling, try accepting that you feel low, allow yourself space and time to feel how you feel, validate yourself, it’s okay to feel shit right now. If that’s too hard, first try to accept the cold and see if you feel warmer even for a few seconds).
– Gratitude (Trying to notice people and things in your life that you’re grateful for regularly, even the smallest of things).
I would love to know if this helps anyone else, try it out and let me know? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought-provoking stuff. If you did enjoy it, help me out and share it so other people can benefit/enjoy it too. Thanks.
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