Saturday 6 February 2016

"Merci, Gracias, Thank You"

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Thank you. How often do you say these two words? I truly believe that these words hold the key to unlocking contentment and happiness. Does it sound like I am about to launch into a Pollyanna-ish post about all things rainbows and butterflies? Perhaps. Stay with me...

The American author Melody Beattie describes gratitude and its transformative power like this:

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."

I am in a chapter of my life where gratitude comes easily to me. It's second nature for me to find myself in a random, yet intentional, moment when I am simply thankful. It might be at night when I tuck myself into bed and a smile creeps over my face as I feel how cozy my bed is, how comforting my bedroom is. It might be at work after a water cooler chat with a colleague about something silly or perhaps deep and meaningful. I walk away feeling really lucky and grateful to have a pretty great group of people to work with on a daily basis.

It hasn't always been this way for me. I think I have always been a positive person but I didn't always take a moment to recognize all that I have. In my twenties I wanted to be slimmer. I wanted to be smarter. I wanted to have 'more'. In retrospect I had all of that. I didn't need to lose weight or be smarter. I was already those things. I just didn't see it. And, I am certain, major depressive disorder played a big part in that. Youth probably had a hand it it, as well.

As depression tightened its vice-like grip on me, mentally and physically, my life became almost unbearable. I often wondered why I was alive, what was the purpose of any of it. I considered death. I developed bulimia. I withdrew even more from the world. And then something changed. At some point in my early thirties I realized that I had a choice: I could let depression and anxiety run my world or I could take control of a few things.

It was through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that I learned some truths about mental illness, the big one being that depression is a lying bastard. It tells you all sorts of bad, wrong things: you aren't good enough; life is too hard; give up. Lies, all lies. Working with a psychologist and then, eventually, a psychiatrist, I was able to begin retraining my brain. I began to understand the power of living in the moment, recognizing and stopping negative thoughts, and the incredible benefits of gratitude.

"Fear is why we don't take action and anger is why we get stuck. You can't be grateful and angry simultaneously. You can't be fearful and be grateful simultaneously. So it's really the reset button." 
~ life strategist,Tony Robbins

Gratitude has definitely been my reset button. By focusing on appreciating the big and small gifts in my life I am much calmer and happier. I find myself at a place in my life where I am much more in control of my mental health. I still have anxiety attacks but I am learning how to better manage them and, when possible, avoid them. My depression is in remission. And, for the first time in my life I truly believe in myself and my ability to live my best life.

As Ms. Beattie said so eloquently, "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." Yes. Thank you.

KB xo

P.S. Check out these great gratitude resources:

1 comment:

  1. Keep up the great writing. I'm sure it's difficult to keep being so open, and I want to thank you for continuing on. I am grateful for the support your blog provides. It's making a difference.


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