"Don't be gloomy. Do not dwell on unkind things. Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. Even if you are not happy, put a smile on your face. 'Accentuate the positive.' Look a little deeper for the good. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life." ~ Gordon B. Hinckley
How I miss President Gordon B. Hinckley and his incredible optimism. This quote seems easier said than done, especially for me as someone who struggles with depression. But even on the darkest days, I believe light can still be found, and that we can find things to be happy about. Feeling happy is better then feeling sad. It lifts the spirit. Happiness glows, and I think it's something we don't just feel but give.
It's hard, especially on days when it feels like my greatest accomplishment is simply getting out of bed and then finding the strength and courage to face the World. But the more I've pondered between positive and negative thoughts, the more I realize what a mind game it all is. Negative will always be easier, as going down hill will always be easier than going up. And there are days where it feels like I'm being crushed by a dark void, drowning, and those days are especially hard when it comes to finding the positive. But even in the darkness there's power in gratitude. Power in tuning in and focusing on love. Power in giving. Power in patience. Power in faith.
And on some days I can only take a couple steps towards the light, and that's okay. A couple steps are better than none. Better than standing still or going backward.
It's a scientific fact that smiling releases endorphins, serotonin, and natural painkillers. "Together these three neurotransmitters make us feel good from head to toe. Not only do these natural chemicals elevate your mood, but they also relax your body and reduce physical pain." (From Top 10 Reasons You Should Smile Every Day.) It's amazing what just putting a smile on your face can do, and trust me I know it's hard. Man it's hard. But smiling, even when it's not at first genuine, as you fight through it, will help you feel better.
When I was in my deepest depression my Mom would say, "Fake it till you make it." I would glare at her, because how could she know the pain? How could I smile? Why do I want to be fake? But as time passes the more I realize how right she is.
It's hard to smile when I don't feel good, when I don't feel like it, but it does make a World of difference.
And there is power in focusing on the Positive over the Negative. I still struggle with depression and my brain's natural need to be gloomy and calculate worse case scenarios, but as I've focused on my thoughts and the patterns they make, it's incredible what imagining the positive does. Saying kind things to myself verses mean things. Being gentler. Noting and noticing the good. It's a process, one that feels upstream, but our minds are powerful tools, and I want my brain to be a tool for good, if that makes any sense.
I read on Facebook a quote that I need to work on:
"Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right." ~ Kushandwizdom (found on Facebook)
I'm not perfect.
I won't pretend to be.
But I do desire to focus on what can go right, instead of what can go wrong, which is my natural inclination. And I'm not going to get this right everyday. I'm going to mess up. I'm going to fall down. As I start developing other healthy habits like overcoming my sugar addiction (aka self-medication), healthy eating, regular exercise, etc, I'm going to have good days and bad.
Regardless of the bad days with the good, the point is I'm trying.
I'm trying and recognizing.
I'm recognizing and moving.
Taking risks. Being bold. Finding courage.
And learning to love life.
We all have so much to be grateful.