My self intervention was to try and write 10 things that I was thankful for every morning when I woke up and every night before I went to bed. I wanted this to be a way to de-stress by taking the time to be grateful for all of the amazing things that I have in my life, and put some of my issues into perspective. I learned a few things from this experience.
- I learned that during a stressful week, such as this one, it is very hard to deliberately take time out of your day to do such a mundane task as writing down 10 things that you are grateful for. I really had to push myself to not blow off the writings in order to get in some of the reading that I am behind on, or study for upcoming finals, or work on the seemingly endless amount of work that I have to do in the next 3 weeks. I realized that I was resenting talking the time out of my day to express what I am thankful for. Changing my attitude on that was a sort of intervention in and of itself. I really had look at my day and realize that the 10 minutes that I was taking to express my gratitude weren’t taking any time away from my studies, or hanging out with friends. I compared the time that I took being grateful each day during the intervention to the time that I spent on my phone each day and I sort of changed my outlook on the intervention.
- I feel that my intervention did make me less stressed, especially during the times that I chose to do it. I am personally always the most stressed right after I wake un and right before I go to sleep. I think that by listing the things I was thankful for, I was able to alleviate some of my stress, especially right after I woke up. Although my stress levels weren’t lowered as much as I dreamed that they would be, I noticed that although it wasn’t a drastic change, I was a little happier than I might have been on an equally stressful day in which I hadn’t expressed my gratitude.
- Consistently, the things that made my list throughout the week were things like the rain, hot showers, morning tea, my family who came to visit me, my kickass spin class, my bed. I realized that I was most thankful for experiences and people, and things that made me happy or alleviated some of my stress. I also realized that some of the things on my list kept popping back into my head every single time that I made a list: things like family and friends mean everything to me. I think that I should stop focusing so much on material things, and stop expecting them to bring me happiness, because they rarely if every made my list.
- It was almost a challenge to come up with 20 things that I am thankful for each day: Although I am aware of how many amazing things I have in my life, it is sometimes hard to focus that gratitude to 2o things.
- It is really easy to focus on the things that don’t go your way, and the things that stress you out or made your day harder or worse: I do this all the time. And although it may be my dramatic tendency, I tend to ruminate these negative events and talk about them more often than I should. I realized/ was reminded through the intervention that I have so, so many things to be thankful for and that although I am mad that I am studying for some test, or don’t understand this concept in one class, I am thankful that I am able to get an education, and I appreciate everything that my parents have done to get me here. You always have something to be thankful for, even when I am frustrated or mad or angry or sad.
Overall, I feel like this was a worthwhile intervention, if not to help with some stress, then to offer some perspective. I was reminded that things are rarely as bad as they seem when you acknowledge the good in your life.