For the past couple of weeks, I have been attending a mini-seminar on positive psychology and happiness. We are given homework from one week to the next and we are also invited to write down the best moments of our day on a daily basis… As I have shared before, I started writing in a gratitude journal four, or maybe five years ago. I think that it might actually be the one thing that has enabled me to be more positive and optimistic about life, hence to be happier, for the simple reason that it helps me focus on the happy moments of my days instead of the sad or frustrating ones.
To be truthful, I no longer write regularly in my gratitude journal. It simply is not something that I enjoy doing. On the other hand, I internally express gratitude all day long to what surrounds me and that compromise keeps me content and happy.
Still, one exercise that we were invited to do was to also jot down the negative or not so happy moments of our day. The first time I had to do it, I actually had a hard time thinking about what had bothered me that day… but after a couple of days, I realized that there was a trend in what was putting me down… All of sudden, here was a list of the little things, either said or done, that bring me anxiety or unease ; and it was soon pretty easy to realize that I could actually choose to control some of those triggers… It was some kind of awakening… I was well aware that some little things tend to bring me anxiety, making my heart sink, and giving me the impression that someone is reaching inside my chest in order to squeeze the breath out of me.
But the exercise somehow gave me a new perspective on it and enabled me to realize how much control I could really have over those triggers. Not in the sense that I could actually suppress them entirely… Triggers are those little things that, at least in my case, bring back memories of past painful moments and almost make you feel just the way you felt when they originally happened years ago, as if they had somehow never healed totally. Some triggers just happen and take over like an unstoppable wave while others can actually be the result of a personal action or impulse which mean they stem from an action that I can actually control since I know that they can potentially have a negative influence on me. At the same time, I am not sure that I necessarily want to give them up. I like to be guided by my emotions and my impulses and the idea of being more reasonable and disciplined simply is not that enticing to me. However, by being more aware of their impact, I can try to be a bit more proactive and stop before I get in too deep so that even though I may not be ready to really steer clear of those triggers and choose to spare myself, it still feels quite empowering to realize and know that the choice is lying in my hands.
“Our barriers to love are rarely consciously chosen. They are our efforts to protect the places where the heart is bruised.” Marianne Williamson
Merci Jessie! ;-)