I felt like I was just one step ahead of a nasty cold all week. It finally caught up with me, though, and with a vengeance! Kind of been feeling miserable. In the middle of the night last night, after a rather bad session of tossing and turning and coughing and feeling sorry for myself, this popped into my head.
"Okay, ten things you're thankful for."
Asking myself this has become my go-to whenever I'm feeling even a little down or discouraged.
For years I battled with untreated depression and anxiety, and this was one of the self-help methods I devised for myself.
And even though I have since gotten help, and feel much better, I still maintain this practice of listing things I'm grateful for. It has become almost second nature. Even on really good days. On ordinary days. And especially on days when I'm feeling a little down.
|I hope to make a little lemon marmalade when I feel better.|
It's not Pollyanna-ish. I'm not saying to myself that whatever is upsetting me isn't real, or doesn't necessarily need attention. I'm just balancing out my perspective a little; reminding myself of all the good gifts I really do have.
And I've always thought it very important to list the "little," ordinary things, the "commonplace" blessings, not big, general things like "my family," "God," etc. Focusing on specifics helps us see better.
So last night, what was on my list? What did I feel grateful for at 1:30 a.m., coughing and blowing my nose?
** a comfortable bed with clean sheets in a spare room all to myself so I wouldn't disturb my husband
** a big box of Kleenex on hand (growing up, we used rather scratchy toilet paper -- why waste money on Kleenex? So, hey, after all these years, soft Kleenex still feels like a treat!)
** a husband who cooked dinner and built a nice fire for me to sit in front of that evening
** a daughter who had made a big pan of yummy brownies that afternoon
** gingerale and Zi-Cam and Day-Quil
** knowing I could sleep in because nothing was scheduled for the morning
** as I would be unable to go to the symphony tomorrow, being able to share those concert tickets with a friend and her daughter, and knowing this made her happy
** the feeling of clean pajamas
** hearing the wind roaring outside, and knowing we were all safely tucked up inside
** a butterscotch hard candy to soothe my sore throat
Whenever I make up these lists, it's so easy to come up with ten things. Sometimes I continue on, and I can usually get to 20 or 25 before I have to start thinking about it. This practice didn't "fix" the deep depressions in the past, but it always helped to make me feel like there was at least something good around me. And this practice continues to help me notice and be thankful for all the many, good gifts I have every day.
|Tracks in the snow -- this little critter (a vole?) is all over the place!|
So many, many things . . . a chickadee at the feeder, a cup of steaming hot coffee, a good book to read, a phone call from a friend, a pretty new nail polish, piles of neatly folded clean laundry, dinner cooking in the crockpot, a new flower bud on the geranium wintering over in the living room . . . what's on your list of ten right now?
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lam. 3:22-23
Linking with No Place Like Home.
Linking with No Place Like Home.