Last week was a good week, and in some ways, it was deliberately a good week. One thing that struck me at Women of Faith was that it was easy to have a great time at an event like that. It would be much harder to remember everything that I learned there, and to hang onto that positive attitude, once I got home. I also read an article in Natural Life magazine that recommended "right thinking" as a natural way to overcome depression. Heather Mattern explained,
When you are recording the things that you are grateful for, research has suggested that it helps your mind focus and search for the positives throughout the day, instead of the negatives. Much of the time, depression stems from this negative thinking. I know that my time and energy are often spent dwelling on the messy failures and disappointments of my day. When my head hit pillow at night I often started wallowing in all that I should have gotten done, or all that I should have done differently.I could identify with what Heather said, but I was skeptical—writing down positive thoughts could really push away depression? This week gave me a chance to test it out.
On Monday morning, I kept Sunshine home from gymnastics because she had a bad cough and a runny nose. We spent the morning doing housework. All morning. Normally, stacks of dishes by the sink and dirt all over the floor would stress me out, because they are urgent tasks that keep me from things I'd rather be doing—like writing. On Monday, I just tackled one task at a time, without worrying about what I needed to have done by the end of the day. I also followed the girls around. When they were upstairs playing in their room, I folded their laundry there. When they were at the table eating their snack, I washed the dishes so I could watch them and talk to them. By the end of the day, I'd actually gotten a lot done (and a clean house makes me feel good).
On Thursday, I felt like I spent most of the day in the Jeep. I took the girls to their music class in the morning, came home for a few minutes to check email, ran Sunshine to preschool, came home for a few minutes to work on a critique, then went to pick up my husband for an appointment. I took my book with him while I was waiting, but it was still frustrating to be doing that instead of the critiques I needed to finish. At least it gave me an opportunity to do some of the reading that my fiction instructor keeps urging me to do. By the evening, when I was heading rock climbing (yay!), I didn't want to sit in the Jeep for the half-hour drive out there. I dug through my CD case, found some worship music, and found myself singing all the way out to the gym.
Small things that made a big difference. As Heather says, "If I wake up thinking of all the things that I have to do and begin feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, then my day ends up being overwhelming and frustrating. It just happens. I must change my way of thinking, and it starts with looking for the gifts upon waking." I'm learning to take each day as it comes, and to appreciate my daughters and my husband, rather than worrying over everything that "must" get done.
"Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside? Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God." (Psalms 43:5 CEB)
What makes the difference between a "good day" and a "bad day" for you?