Have you ever been in a season in your life where sadness was your default setting? You felt like you were struggling to be happy. Not necessarily because so many bad things were happening to you, but for reasons that may even seem minute.
Well, it happens to me. I say happens because I have passed through that state more than once in my life.
It usually sets off when I feel very overwhelmed and I focus too much on the problem in front of me and all my shortcomings.
This is my least creative state. It is filled with fear and dread.
It happens to a lot of people. You go through a period of unhappiness. You try to shake it off. Sometimes you succeed and are happy for a day or half a day. But somehow you find yourself back in the sad hole.
I felt it the most after I had my son. I had anxiety mixed with fear mixed with something else I couldn’t quite explain. I struggled with how I felt for a long time. Everyone else told me that I needed to be happy, after all, something so beautiful just happened to me.
I was told about women who were not so lucky to have what I have. But none of that made any difference. In fact, the more they told me how I was supposed to be feeling, the more I felt worse. All I could think was, “they are right, I should feel happy, so why didn’t I, was I broken?”.
One of my fears with having a baby was having postpartum depression. The fact that I felt sucked in and sad made me feel worse. In my mind I was saying, “this is it, this is how it starts, this is my worse fear coming to life”. But I didn’t want this to be my new reality.
The biggest shocker was when I went to the hospital two days after delivery with my baby to get his shot, and I was crying in the waiting room. I didn’t even care that I looked crazy.
It was like I could see my mind unraveling, and I couldn’t stop it.
I have always believed that I am responsible for my life and my experiences. But I couldn’t seem to shake the state I was in.
So I challenged myself to shift my focus. I didn’t know if it was going to work. But hey, I figured there was only one way to find out.
I downloaded a gratitude app. The app was to challenge me to make daily entries about things I was grateful for, and things I was looking forward to.
I set a reminder to make entries twice a day. At first, it was simple things. “I am grateful for my son's smile”. “I am grateful that breakfast was good”.
The more I challenged my brain to look for things to be grateful for, the more I saw things to be grateful for. And my life seemed brighter. Whenever something happened to me during the day that made me happy, I’d write it down, and stayed grateful.
The app even allows for sending grateful notes to people. So I started doing that. I sent a gratitude note to my mom for helping out. I sent to friends as well.
This shifted my focus, I was no longer lingering on my fears and anxieties anymore. I just saw things to be grateful for.
Initially, it was an activity, but it soon evolved into a lifestyle. Gratitude became who I am. In the midst of my day I find myself whispering to my spirit, “I am so grateful for this, I am so blessed”. My gratitude was bubbling up.
I love being grateful. I want to spread gratitude. I am actively working on appreciating the people in my life, with words and in any other creative way I can. My family, friends, colleagues, I want them to know I am grateful for them and what they do. It would also help them shift their focus.
The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. Basically, the thoughts that occupy your mind create your experience and your life. I choose to think about things that would create a beautiful life for me.
Practicing gratitude truly changed me.
Thank you for following… :)