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Although I have never been officially diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, I know that I have it. In some ways, it’s hard not to where I live. This is a real condition and not something to be taken lightly. There are so many psychological disorders that are often so easily dismissed as though people can just will themselves out of whatever condition grips them. That would be nice, but no way.
I’m in Michigan, and not only is it in the North where winter covers the area for months on end, but I am also near Lake Michigan, which means we fall victim to a thick blanket clouds that come from the lake for days and weeks on end for many months of the year. We can go weeks without ever seeing one glimmer of the sun, and there are several months when we see less than 10% of available sunshine in just one season. That’s depressing just to type.
This year, however, I wanted things to be different. This winter I decided to apply what I already know: that thankfulness is the best medicine for many things. When we are focused on being thankful, we focus less on that which steals our joy.
It was with that in mind that I determined to speak, out loud, three things that I was thankful for each and every time that I was feeling down about the weather. This proved to be a lot, which didn’t really surprise me.
I knew this would help me, but I really had no idea how much this would drastically change the course of my entire winter (and my entire life). At first, I was listing three things several times a day, but as time went by I easily listed more than three.
This continued for a few months, but what happened over time was that I grumbled less – a lot less. Focusing on being thankful completely shifted my perspective, which was most unexpected.
This was a tough winter for many reasons – constant sickness, bitterly cold temperatures, and what seemed to be skies that were even more dreary than normal, but I am completely amazed at how I never found myself in the valley where winter usually takes me each winter. In fact, I don’t think I ever even started on the downward slope that leads to the valley.
Do you find yourself in a valley? Do you suffer with a very real condition that seems to hold you firmly in its grip? You, too, can determine to do these three simple things that just might help you weather the storm that rages overhead. At first it may seem awkward with little reward, but if you are anything like me, once your thankfulness gains momentum, it just may carry you to a different place, a different future as well.
With very little effort, like me, you just may be able to turn your life around.