A lesson in thankfulness

Here’s the thing about me: sometimes I don’t realize how lucky I am, or how thankful I should be for the things that I have and the people who love me. I don’t necessarily try and take things for granted, but sometimes I forget that I should be thankful for even the littlest of things. I have so many blessings, that sometimes I don’t even register that some of them I am actually so lucky to have.

I’ve been trying this new thing where I try and remember to thank God for the things that I have, the people who I have and even for just waking up in the morning. When I start my day being thankful for the life that I have and actually having life, I find that my mood has improved significantly. I start my day actively trying to remember that I am blessed beyond comprehension and it has been making all of the difference. Starting the day in a positive state of mind, in a state of optimism, means that I am actively trying to have a happier life.

I’ve been actively keeping track of my mood for the last month and a half in an app I discovered when trying to find relief for my anxiety. With this new start of my day, praying and thanking God for all that He does for me, and being continually thankful, my days have been pretty good. I have moments of sadness, moments of anxiousness, but overall, I’m happier. When I was focusing on the bad things in my life, there was a more of a chance of having a bad day, and I’ve usually been a pretty happy and positive person. This little extra boost of optimism and thankfulness after a stormy sea has brought me into some calm waters. Or at the very least, has been helping me keep the boat from tipping over.

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(The application I have been using is called Pacifica. Found for iOS, Android and Web.)

Above are screen caps of two different weeks, the first one, from June 17-23 was before I started to regularly give thanks to God for my life. The second one is just this past week, June 30-July 6, and there’s a lot less of a fluctuation in my moods. That first week there my moods ranged from very good to awful, and often quickly, where as my this past week has been between okay and very good with no huge dips in the day!

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Within the app you are able to pick how you’re feeling, ranging from Great to Awful, and then when you tap the “Add Feelings” there is a huge list of feelings that you can choose from so that you remember how you are feeling at the moment. You even have the ability to add some feelings that you might not find in the list, and then use those ones you’ve added whenever you want. On June 17th, for my entry at 4:12pm when I was feeling Awful, some of the feelings I put were: uneasy, anxious, sad, hurt, unwanted, nostalgic, panicky and defeated. On July 1st, my entry at 8:19pm, when I was feeling Very Good, the feelings I put down were: lazy, relaxed, productive and peaceful. There’s an obvious change in my mental state of mind between the two.

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It even allows you to write down in your own words what you’re feeling, or what’s going on. It’s a nice way to keep me conscious of how much things affect me, and when I need a reminder on being thankful. Sometimes I really do need that reminder, and this tool I have found has not only helped me manage my anxiety a little better, but keep me conscious of my ever changing moods and how my change of mind and attitude, my daily prayers of thankfulness has this huge impact on me.

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This app has also been great to keep me conscious on making an effort to do things that bring me joy, whatever those may be. It gives me a goal to strive for, and again, reminds me to be thankful. For example, I slept for at least 7 hours on July 3rd. I got to spend time with my family (which for those who know me, know that I spend a lot of time on my own, but I’m thankful for when I do want to spend time with others). I worked that day, and I’m friends with a lot of my co-workers, so it was like I got to spend my day with friends. I spent at least 60 minutes doing a hobby, and lately it’s been reading. I was able to bathe and take care of myself, which seems like such a small thing, but when you’re in a bad place mentally, even that is something that doesn’t seem worth it. I got to spend some time outside, enjoying the sunshine, and I got some exercise.

Thankfulness is a choice. It is consciously choosing to look at everything in your life, from the little things to the big things, and remembering that a small gust of wind could take it all away, then appreciating it while you have it. That while you have them, that they are great things, and should never be taken for granted. With these changes in my mindset, I’ve started to really appreciate everything, and I hope to continue on in this lesson on thankfulness.

And just because I can, here are some of the things that I thank God daily for, because I think it’s important to acknowledge that we’re lucky:

For waking up this morning.
For being able to get out of bed in the morning.
For having a God who loves me, who teaches me, who is my refuge when I am weak.
For my friends and family who love me unconditionally, even when I’m being a jerk.
For having the ability to read. A life without reading would suck.
For having a job that I enjoy and being able to go to work.
For the life lessons I’ve learned that made me stronger and better.
For the people who walked out of my life so better ones could come in.

Whatever it is that you have, try and remember to be thankful for it. It might not always be there. What are some of the things you’re thankful for?

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