Welcome to my new weekly column as part of SixTAY Days of Writing: Thankful Thursday!
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there are some not-so-good things happening right around everywhere right now. It’s important to draw attention to these things and treat it seriously.
It’s also important to maintain our sanity, though!
I’m doing more-or-less okay now, but during winter of last year, I really wasn’t. My grades were slipping, I kept having to cancel more extracurriculars, and I ended up being unceremoniously dumped after I finally thought I’d found someone who liked me. I ended up failing a class I’d been doing well in, losing more and more sleep and falling into a pretty scary depression.
With the new year, I wanted to change that. After spending an admittedly sweet winter break doing not much else than playing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (almost as effective as the therapy tbh), I started doing a bunch of stuff for my mental health. I got in touch with a psychiatrist, started exercising more and enrolled in group therapy again.
I’d done group therapy before and loved it, but this one was less “how does that make you feel” and more about learning different coping and relaxation techniques to practice mindfulness. If I’m being really honest, it didn’t change me that much, if at all. But I did learn a few things that I use to help me out here and there, and one of my favorites was one of the most simple: practicing gratitude.
There really isn’t much beyond what it sounds like. For our group, we wrote down two things we were thankful for each day and talked about what we wrote in our weekly meetings.
As is typical with me, the hardest thing was simply remembering to write anything at all. At first, there are the obvious ones: family, friends, significant others, dogs, etc. Then there are the bigger-picture ones, like getting to exist in this moment in the universe, and the smaller-picture ones like appreciating a game or show. It’s silly, but I really believe engaging in gratitude boosts happiness, at least a little, and there’s research to back that up.
So each Thursday through these 60 days, I encourage you to leave in the comments — or make your own post — three things you’re grateful for: one “obvious” thing, one bigger-picture thing and one smaller-picture thing.
I’m sure this will be more difficult for some than it will be for others. I’m incredibly privileged, even among my peers. If you can’t think of anything, that’s okay. Even one or two are great, or you can talk about something in the past or future you were grateful to have experienced or are looking forward to. I encourage you to be as creative and weird as you want!
So I’ll start:
Obvious: I’m grateful to have a home to live in, and not even have to pay rent for it.
Bigger-picture: I’m grateful that California seems to be on track to meet patient needs, according to the state’s governor.
Smaller-picture: I’m grateful that HBO just made a bunch of their shows free to watch, giving me the opportunity to have a Skype date with my girlfriend and watch Detective Pikachu together!
Stay safe everyone, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to talk.