I’ve been giving a lot of thought to happiness lately, which is admittedly a bit strange for me as I am not by nature an introspective person (something that I am actively working to change). I understand that awareness of one’s emotions is important to growth as an individual, however, and as someone who has struggled with depression most of my adult life, it is no easy task to adjust your thinking over night.
When I started my current job, I went through a serious bout of unhappiness, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I was surrounded by creative people, in a supportive atmosphere, working in an industry I love. However, for the life of me I couldn’t get myself out of the weird, unhappy rut I found myself in. It wasn’t until a co-worker made a comment one day about it that it even occurred to me that I was bringing everyone else around me down, it was that moment that I realized I needed to re-focus my energy and start being thankful instead of miserable. Since that day I have begun making conscious decisions on what makes me happy and what I need to avoid to slip back into ennui, and while it’s not easy, sometimes just taking stock of the good things in my life is enough to brighten my day.
While browsing articles on LinkedIn this morning, I came across this little gem from the SCP of People Operations at Google who gave a simple piece of advice on taking two minutes a day to reflect on what makes you happy, and actually writing them down. So in an effort to practice what I preach and in honor of the upcoming holiday here is my list of 5 (not just 3) things that I am thankful for:
5 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:
- My friends – I have an incredible network of friends around the globe that I can turn to for advice, a chat or inspiration at any given moment, it is because of them that I am who I have become, and they are my greatest source of true happiness.
- My family – My family is very small, in fact most of the the time it’s just my mom and I, we’ve weathered a lot together, but it has made our bond that much stronger. Sure, we bicker and argue as mothers and daughters do, but we also know that we are there for each other no matter what.
- My job – It took me a very long time to find a career that I felt comfortable in, and when I say comfort, I mean one that challenges me on an almost daily basis. My job has provided me financial stability after a year of trying to eek out an existence as a freelancer, but it has also rewarded me with deeper personal insight, creativity and professional drive.
- My cats – They are my source of job and stability, home is wherever my cats (and the cat fur) is. At 11 years old, they are creeping past middle age, but they still make me laugh, keep the bed warm and cuddle without asking anything in return (except for the odd ear scratch now and again). If you’ve ever co-existed with a pet, you get why they always make me smile, no matter what.
- My home – I have a great apartment, it’s quaint, quiet and in a lovely town on the river. I know that I am lucky to have found it, and in the (nearly) 7 years that I have lived there it has not only provided me shelter, but also a sense of home I have rarely felt in other places.
I know that just thinking and being thankful does not change my constant battle with sadness, I understand that every day is a battle I am fighting to prevent myself from slipping back into darkness. I am also fully aware that for some people this battle is much more than happy thoughts and thankfulness, and to them I hope that even on the dark days you can find one thing, anything to be thankful for and that it makes you happy.