There Is Always Something to Be Thankful For
Every Single Time
You may sometimes or often have days where you feel deeply sad and/or fed up about life.
Maybe it's your home life, finances, job, friends, relationships, mental health, or the many other factors that can come into play. But a really important thing you can do is not focus on what you don't have, or what you wished you had or didn't have, but rather on the good things you do have, the things you’re thankful for.
The things that give you life and a reason to not give up. They can be the smallest things. Maybe it's a good book you recently bought, or a piece of music, a great TV show or film, or a friend or relative. Whatever the thing might be, try to focus on that to help you with your dark days rather than focusing on the negative.
As someone with a high-functioning anxiety disorder, my mind always focuses on the aspects of my life that I wish were different, or I wish I had, or didn’t have. And I can get easily fixated on them, so much so that it will ruin my mood for the day. Often, I will hear of my friends being more successful than I am and generally having better lives than me, and it can really get me down.
It is so common to become trapped in this spiral of toxic, negative thinking, so often that it becomes our default way of thinking without even realising it is. This links to the common thing with anxiety disorders of "catastrophising," which refers to the default spiral of unhelpful, damaging thoughts that spring from a negative situation. For example, “My friend didn’t show up, that means she doesn’t like me, and that means no one likes me or will ever like me.” We tend to think of the worst possible scenario rather than the reality, which in this case, was maybe that she missed her bus or something important had come up.
Everything has a cause and effect: When we perceive a bad situation in a panicked or negative way, our mind will respond with equally panicky or negative thoughts. And when we give in to this pattern enough times, our focus on the positive aspects of our life can be pushed to the back.
It might help to write a list on your phone or in a journal of the nice things you do have in your life, and the things you thankfully don’t have. That way you can go back and remind yourself that you are not as bad as you think. I have tried to do this myself. After a particularly bad day when things don't quite go well, I will get out my little blue notebook and just jot down 10 or so things that I'm still grateful for having. The point that usually takes the first place spot is the fact that I have a great support network in my family. I will be forever thankful for them. And, usually, as I mull over my list at the end of the day, the darkest parts of the day can feel just that bit brighter.
A lot of us take things for granted: Our eyesight, the fact that we're not living on the street, or the fact that we have all our limbs and are not confined to a wheelchair. Remember, there is always someone who has it worse than you. And I think it is always valuable to reflect on this fact.
It really just puts everything into perspective.
Yes, people with various mental struggles do have more bad days than good ones, but by just focusing on the things that you thankfully don't have to go through, you can really put a positive spin on how you perceive your life.
You are okay. You will get through this. You're doing great.