Category Archives: Happy mind

Why write “a worry list”?

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A few weeks ago, I was in a rather bad place. I was stressed out and worried constantly about way too many things. Some of them could be easily solved, but other gave me a headache each time I thought of them. All those things kept whirling around in my head, giving me no peace.

As a consequence I had problems falling asleep in the evening, woke up many times during the night and sometimes when I woke up to pee, I would lay awake for 1-1,5 hours in the middle of the night, unable to fall asleep again.

Then one morning I woke up at 5:30, and after tossing and turning for about an hour, I finally realised I had to do something proactive to get my mind in order.

I got dressed, grabbed some paper and a pen and started to write down all my worries. In no particular order, I wrote everything that was bothering me, in one way or another. And just by doing that, my mind immediately started to quiet down.

Afterwards I looked at my list, with about 10-12 items on it, and circled the things that were within my control to do something about. Next I came up with some possible solutions to the situation, or some concrete things I could act on in the nearest future. Some of them I could resolve within the day, some later. The things I realised weren’t within my control, I decided it wouldn’t do me any good to ruminate more over them for now. Instead I would concentrate on the “problems” (or tasks at hand) I could do something about.

I really hadn’t had any expectations regarding this little experiment of mine, but later that same day I realised I felt like a huge burden had been lifted of my shoulders. No longer was  I a victim of my own mind, but I had oversight over my problems, and could do something concrete in order to work on them. It was a really good feeling, and I decided to use this method again the next time my mind was acting like a monkey, running around from tree to tree without any goal whatsoever.

There’s nothing new under the sun and most likely some of you are already using this method for “worry management”, or some other equally effective way of dealing with worries. If that’s the case, it sure would be nice to hear from you, so please leave a comment 🙂

Resisting reality makes you unhappy

Gratitude

Just think about it for a second. Perhaps it has been raining constantly for many days and you long for the sun to shine, but no matter how much you whine about the bad weather, wishing the sun was there, the weather is not going to change. At least not because of anything you did.

Luckily I’m sensible enough to understand that I can’t control the weather, and I really try not to allow bad weather to affect my mood. As I live in Iceland the weather can be very unpredictable, and now in the beginning of May, we still have snow…

All the same, I sometimes fall into the rut of wishing things were different, fighting reality instead of accepting it, and I have discovered that it really makes me unhappy.

Mostly this happens in relation to my health. As I’ve got fibromyalgia, I sometimes get what’s called fibro flare, and then all my symptoms get considerably worse for some time. My latest flare has been ongoing since January, and what has been the most challenging task for me is not coping physically with the pain, fatigue and other debilitating symptoms. No, the most challenging thing is accepting my situation. Stop fighting it! Sadly I must admit I’m not doing a great job in that department.

Not accepting my reality, constantly wishing things were different, only leads to one thing. Unhappiness and depression. Well those were two things .. but you get my point.

So I’ve decided I need a new strategy to cope, and I’ve chosen gratefulness as my first tool. From now on I’m going to write a gratitude journal. Each day before I go to sleep I will write in my journal at least three things I’m grateful for in my life. I intend to focus on things that happened that day, in order to make pleasant memories more prominent in my brain.

I’m going to use a notebook, but there’s even an app for this. It can be found here, and costs only 1,99 in iTunes. Maybe I’ll try that later.

My goal is to write in my journal each day for at least three weeks.

Today I’m grateful for:

* The beautiful smile I got from a 4 month old boy at the dentist’s office.

* The waitress at the café who remembered my name, and called it out when my beautifully green Matcha latté was ready. 

* Having two hands and being able to write this blog post, even though it hurts. 

P.S. I’ll let you know how it worked out.