Have you ever just been in a funk that you can’t seem to get out of? There’s no rhyme or reason, you just feel blah. I’ve been in a depressed, anxious mood for the past week or so and it’s been such a struggle to get out of this state. I know what would be helpful: exercise, adequate sleep, healthy eating, quiet time, and coloring. Even though I am such a big advocate for self-care, it can be extremely difficult to actually practice. Can anybody relate to this? If you are wondering what this post has to do with gratefulness, keep reading!
Today I finally had a little breakthrough and had some quiet time. It was a huge accomplishment for me to sit down, light a Christmas candle, turn on some worship music, and rest. Taking a moment to just be still and let my anxious thoughts settle was so good for my soul. I didn’t feel the need to meander around the apartment restlessly, trying to find things to clean (in a 760 square foot apartment there is only so much to clean anyways). This was a rare moment of peace in my anxiety-filled world.
I also read a few chapters from a book that was a crucial part of my spiritual development in college. It’s a lovely book written by Henri Nouwen called Life of the Beloved. I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it before. You can finish Life of the Beloved in one sitting and it is an easy but powerful read. Go ahead and grab the book, find yourself a cozy chair and soak it in!
Gratitude as an Antidote to Anxiety and Depression
One thing struck me from the book that I wanted to share with you is the importance of gratitude. Anxiety and depression often result in bitter, worrisome, pessimistic thoughts wreaking havoc on the mind. However, in Life of the Beloved, Nouwen reminds me that gratefulness is such a strong antidote to negative, pessimistic, and anxious thoughts. Gratefulness is a choice that can be made consciously. It takes practice to notice the things we can be thankful for on a day to day basis: a kind cashier in the Target checkout, a lovely Christmas tree warming up your living room, a husband who brings Chipotle home for lunch, a stranger who lets you merge in front of them in traffic. These are all moments we can chose to pay attention to and be grateful for.
Nouwen says, “What fascinates me so much is that every time we decide to be grateful it will be easier to see things to be grateful for. Gratitude begets gratitude as love begets love.”
Guys, I think this is such an important lesson to remember and put into practice, especially during the holiday season. It is so easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong in our days. Trust me, I am a pro at magnifying the little things that go wrong and letting them consume my thoughts and my emotions. The fact that we can chose what we allow to fill the space of our minds is so empowering. I want to encourage you today to notice five things you are thankful for.
Five Things I am Grateful for Today
- My adorable labradoodle puppy who gives me cuddles.
- My favorite soft burgundy cardigan, fresh out of the dryer.
- My sweet husband who made my coffee this morning.
- Cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies that make me feel better about life.
- The fact that the sun is finally shining, making it a beautiful December day.
What are you grateful for? Maybe you can make it a practice to end the day by writing down five things you appreciated during the day. I might try doing that this week to see if I can continue to improve my mood by focusing on the things that are going well rather than the things that are not.
Thanks for stopping by and reading. Wishing you tidings of comfort and joy!
*I am not paid to endorse any product. All opinions are my own.