The world is simply filled with conflict and disagreements. Some people say that carbs are bad and say they are delicious. Some say that screens are our future and others say they will be our demise. One thing that there is a nearly worldwide consensus on is that we, as in the human race are mentally unhealthy. Stress levels are on the rise and people are struggling to find happiness. Whilst this is a complex issue that could delve into socio-economic factors and psychological theories there are still simple ways we can help ourselves feel happy.  It is all too easy to forget the good when we are surrounded by bad things.

I am not advocating turning a blind eye to the problems in the world or burying your head in the sand in the face of personal adversity, quite the contrary. If we fail to see the goodness of the day we could fall into despair and we cannot fight for a better world or fix our problems when we are in despair. Despair negatively impacts on our cognitive reasoning.

A few years ago I wrote an article on looking at the world and experiencing it the way a toddler would and how that positively impacts on our mood. My little boy is five and he has a Happy Journal. Each day he writes his top three things that happened. They can be as simple as picking up a stone, or singing on the bus. The things he finds wonderful are often the things we have forgotten about or are too weighed down with life to fully appreciate.

In our adult lives, we may not have the time to sit and write three things daily but what if we had a jar where we could place the things we are grateful for. As you see it filling up I am certain that you will begin to find even more time and soon you will be filling it daily.

Cut strips of paper and leave them on a tray with a jar, it can be an old kitchen jar. Place a pen on the tray and make sure it is somewhere it will not be forgotten, in the bedroom perhaps. Making it part of your nighttime routine is perfect, imagine how wonderful it will feel to go to sleep after writing down the things that you are grateful for.

At first, you may feel that the things you write feel forced but stay with it and soon you will open up your mind to seeing more things that you are grateful for. I have had people say to me that I am brave when they hear about my struggles with miscarriage and stillbirth or my battles with cancer but those things are not bravery, I have not chosen to deal with them the way a knight would fight a dragon. I am eternally grateful to the medical professionals who helped me through those experiences but my day to day mood throughout was not bravery it was mental training to find the things that were good that day, even on the worst of days. Seeing morning dew on a cobweb. Thinking you had run out of tea then finding some in a jar. A hug from a loved one.

The things in your life will be personal to you but once you start your jar of gratitude you will be open to finding more things to be grateful for. You will feel happier and on the darkest of days, you can open your jar and remind yourself why life is wonderful.

 

 

By Nicolette Lafonseca on 11.10.19

Guest Contributor

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