By: Amanda Ziegler, LSCSW (written April 19th)
Last Thursday was just one of those days. We had so many cold days, and finally a gorgeous spring day. 75 degrees. Beautiful breeze. Sun shining.
So I rounded my kids up and we took off on a walk to the park. We took the long way so we could enjoy the path along the creek. As I was walking I kept thinking to myself “Amanda, it’s time to practice what you preach. Gratitude journal time. Where do you see beauty and what are you grateful for today?”
My list came easy— the beautiful sun and blue sky, the gentle breeze, the ability to exercise outdoors, my children’s health and curiosity in the world around them, the assurance that summer is coming.
And then it struck me. It struck me how easy it is to see the good, when things are good. It’s easy to write in a gratitude journal when you’re surrounded by beauty and light and goodness. But what about January, when there’s an ice storm, and you are iced in for 3 days with those same adorable, but now, whiny children? What about when your current season of life is dark? What about when you are alone and feel hopeless? What about when anxiety and depression consume you, and you can’t see the good in today, and you certainly can’t feel it?
I’m here to assure you there IS hope. Summer IS coming. There IS light and beauty and good, but some seasons of life we just have to search harder for it. Sometimes we have to re-train our brain to find the good, in order to feel the good.
I often hear clients talk about the snowball of anxiety. One anxious/ negative thought leads to another, leads to another, and so on, until the anxiety snowball is ginormous. How overwhelming! But feelings of positivity can be the same, if we let it. If we start to look for the good, we see it, and we find it in more places. Soon it, too, can snowball and create a beautiful outlook.
Consider a gratitude journal. What is it, you ask? It’s just like it sounds. A journal or list of things you are grateful for each day. It’s an easy way to start looking for the good and beauty and light. Start small, with just one thing a day, if you have to. Work your way up to 3-5 things. It’s a great way to end the day— what am I grateful for today? What better way to drift off to sleep, than thinking about things you are grateful for that day.