a trick for bad days

I shared this tip last week in a Facebook group, but with tomorrow being the national holiday for giving thanks, I figured I would share it here, too.

Maybe it's growing up, or my deepening faith, or my battle with depression, but I'm learning that best and truest strategy for battling all that life throws my way is through gratitude. Plain, simple, and free. Giving thanks shifts my perspective, quiets my heart, resets my racing thoughts and puts me in a positive place where I can move forward. That's why I turn to this exercise whenever I'm having a rough day. I call it my sad/glad list.

You might say it's tedious, or a lot of work, but hear me out. This exercise has pulled me out of many a funk, so it's tried-and-true. I bet if you try it, it would work for you too.

When I'm having a bad day, a sad day, an anxious day or a stressful day, I sit myself down and I make a list. Those who know me are chuckling, I'm sure, because making a list is so very Valerie. But it works! I make a list - be sure to number it - of every single thing stressing or bumming me out. Everything from major financial worries to annoyance over a bad hair day. I put it all down on the paper. Then, right next to my list of "sad", I make a list of "glad." For every single stressful thing, I write down something I'm grateful for. If I wrote down 37 bad things, I write down 37 gratitudes. Seeing them in black and white, on paper, side by side, is such a powerful testimony. Sure, it doesn't necessarily do anything about the problems or stressors, but it tempers them all with gratitude, which makes them seem not so bad, and maybe not so all-consuming.

Bad days happen, and they're hard. I find myself experiencing them even more in the winter, when it's cold and dark and dreary and you don't get out or see friends as much. But doing this exercise, and training my mind to reach for gratitude no matter what, has been a powerful force in my life. I pray it helps you, too. Happy Thanksgiving, and may we all quiet our minds and focus on gratitude not only tomorrow, but each and every day. XO.