It’s been a little bleak mentally.
The past few months have been a bit bleak mentally. It’s the same old story – blessed beyond measure yet still visited by a familiar heaviness that clogs my mind and turns my world gray.
I’ve been battling through this episode with my usual anti-depression arsenal, but it’s been slightly more challenging this time around for various reasons.
On one of my brighter days, I plucked up the courage to request a meeting with our pastor. I wanted to discuss some left over teachings I was still wrestling with from my previous church. During our discussion, I happened to mention my struggle with depression and how it once took me to a very dark place.
Thankfully, our pastor did not respond in the way that I always fear pastors will. He acknowledged that depression is a real issue to which Christians are not immune. After hearing some of my experiences, he suggested that I add a gratitude project into my anti-depression arsenal.
ONE THOUSAND THINGS??
Let me quickly clarify – our pastor was not dismissing the seriousness of depression nor was he suggesting this exercise is a cure all for what can become a life-threatening disease. There are times when counseling and/or medication is necessary. Rather, this exercise is designed to rewire our brain so that it defaults to a more positive space even on the dull, gray days.
I’ll be honest, I have made some attempts at gratitude journaling in the past but gave up fairly quickly because I over-complicated the whole endeavor. However, this particular exercise, as the pastor explained, is pretty straight forward – simply list ONE THOUSAND things for which you are grateful. (Easy peasy, right?)
One thousand things is A LOT OF THINGS! In fact, it feels like it’s ALL THE THINGS! And, I may well have been put off by such an exercise had the pastor not already completed it himself and acknowledged that it is a challenging task; the most important thing is not to give up even if that means listing a few (or many) things that seem trivial.
Indeed, he was right – once you’ve covered all the majors, you may find yourself listing things like chocolate chip cookies, freshly sharpened pencils, Cheetos, bleach, butterflies, cheese, indoor plumbing, favorite classic film stars, etc. but, that’s okay as long as you stay focused on the list.
It’s no secret that when our gratitude increases, the amount of mental acreage we can dedicate to negative thinking decreases. I know there will be moments of frustration as I work my way through this exercise, but I will do my best to plough through and remember that depression and negativity simply cannot take root in grateful soil.
Let me know…
Please let me know in the comment section if you decide to participate in this gratitude list exercise. I did create my list in Excel and printed off the pages so I can work on it any time. To date, I’ve only made it just past 200 so I’d love some company!!
Finally, thank you for stopping by and taking time out of your day to view this post.