Week 11 of the Pessimist to Semi-Optimist Project
It’s hard not to think that the world isn’t a horrible place these days, since so many headline stories are usually about bad things that have happened. There are wars, dying people, starving children, car accidents, etc. These are headlines that sell because bad news clings like velcro onto our minds.
Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of anger as I walk down the street and see senior citizens. I feel like it’s not fair that my father never got a chance to become old before he died. I can’t help it, but my life from now on will feel like it’s capped at the age he died. Everyday I try not to think that death is coming for me soon. Through my ruminations I conclude that I have another X years, I know I should try to make the best out of this horrible world and perhaps be slightly more happier since there is no doubt more crappier things will happen to me soon anyways.
One doctor friend told me that he would like to die of stomach cancer as he said that it was beautiful that cells in his body would have become immortal and he will be high on morphine to avoid the pain. Not sure if I want the same thing, I would be missing out on a lot of good food!
Brain-xercise Week 11: Gratitude Journal
Last August, one of my friends (a wellness coach) told me to start a journal and to write down 3 things every night, before going to bed, of things I’m grateful for. I tried, but I was just too tired to do it every night…
According to The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley, they recommend a few steps for this Gratitude Journal:
- Conscious decision – you have to motivated to do this exercise, or it won’t work
- Depth – quality, not quantity counts; do think about why you are writing something down
- People versus things – focusing on individuals have more impact than things for which you are grateful for
- Try subtraction – thinking about what life would be like without something may be more stimulating
- Surprises are great – these events are more memorable
- Writing occasionally better than daily – daily writing may be overdoing the exercise and will not reap more benefits, their suggestions is once or twice a week
Now that I’m a bit more motivated, here are my sample journal entries:
March 5 – Grateful for son who is sometimes a pain in the ass, but he is also my only light at the moment in this dark world. His smile is brighter than the sun, but his head knocking into my chin does hurt a lot. Grateful for my husband who puts up with my crap and my crazy family. He could have married a much taller woman and had taller children, but he chose to be with me and have average people. Am lucky to have both of them in my life or else I would be a spinster. Or maybe a sexy single lady. Am I missing out on single life?
March 12 – Grateful that my grandma is in a nursing home with staff who answers the phone. Not happy that no one else in the family wanted to help her and I have to deal with everything, but I shouldn’t complain because it’s better than not having family. Grandma yelled at me about some stuff again, but it’s a good thing because her brain is all intact and she doesn’t have any dementia. I have to learn from her the secret of how to live to 101. Maybe there will be flying cars or bionic bodies by then so I don’t have to drive or rely on worn out body parts.
Semi-Optimistic Thoughts: The world is a horrible place when we feel like it is. Taking a step back and thinking about being grateful for what you have already will help you get through life easier (especially if you can find some humor in things).
Hmm…after trying this gratitude stuff out a few times, it’s obvious that my mind wanders a lot, but I do feel a bit better because it’s a creative writing exercise for me. Doing it once or twice a week is less pressure than every night because then it feels like a chore!
There are surprises that do happen which makes me think that life is random and odd sometimes. Last year, a squirrel dropped a few feet off a house in front of me and if I had walked 1 minute faster I would have had a concussion; meanwhile my sister had a squirrel scratch at her head at Disney World which freaked her out. I am starting to think that my dad’s death is also a random event, which makes me feel a bit better. As carbon based organisms, how do we know when our cells and bodies expire? We don’t. So we might as well try to have a good time before our heart stops!
Song I’m listening to: “Something Changed” – Pulp
I wrote the song two hours before we met
I didn’t know your name or what you looked like yet
Oh, I could have stayed at home and gone to bed
I could have gone to see a film instead
You might have changed your mind and seen your friends
Life could have been very different but then