Just One Thing: Take in the Good

happy slothThis week, a lot of schools are coming back from break, including mine. It’s exciting to start a new semester and new classes, but it can very quickly become stressful. For me, that stress then makes it a lot harder for me to write, because all I think about is how much my classes are killing me.

Luckily, it’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for this week’s exercise from Just One Thing. Hopefully, this will help me start the semester on a positive note.

Chapter Two: Take in the Good

Our brains have a habit of being really negative. We react faster to negative stimulus than to positive and we dwell more on the negative. We concentrate on pain instead of pleasure. How many of you go to bed at night thinking of all the things you did wrong that day? I know I do. More often than not, I have to play music just to drown out those nagging negative thoughts in my brain.

Today, Just One Thing tells us that we should take some time to think about the positive things happening. Maybe it’s finishing a story or an assignment, or hanging out with a friend, or just hearing a funny joke. Maybe it’s seeing the positive things that other people do, the stories that warm your heart. As Just One Thing says, “You are not looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but simply recognizing something that is actual and true.”

Look for these good experiences. Let yourself really enjoy them. Don’t just smile and move on. Sit back. Let it sink in, let this one piece of positivity really get to you and be part of you. Try to make it matter as much to you as any stupid little embarrassment does.

I have a good experience to share with you today. I got an anonymous ask on Tumblr. They wanted my opinion on people talking about parts of their bodies as “problem areas”, because the anon thought that was harmful, and should they discourage a friend from thinking that way? I completely agreed. There are loads of reasons why seeing parts of your body as bad and problematic is, well, problematic. And this is the second question I’ve gotten from an anon this week on topics related to body positivity and confidence. There are people out there who see me as someone with a lot of confidence and opinions on body positivity, someone that can help them. That is so incredibly amazing to me. If there is just one person out there that I’m helping through all of my rants on fat and body positivity, then, wow. Wow. That’s a good thing that’s going to stick with me.

So, come on. What sort of good things have been in your life lately? What’s been making you happy?

Just One Thing: The Beginning

JustOneThingMECH.inddFor Christmas, my best friend Becca (who has a blog you should check out) gave me the book Just One Thing by Rick Hanson. Here’s the summary on the back:

You’ve heard the expression, “It’s the little things that count.” Research has shown that little daily practices can change the way your brain works, too. this book offers simple brain-training practices you can do every day to protect against stress, lift your mood, and find greater emotional resilience. Just One Thing is a treasure chest of over fifty practices created specifically to deepen your sense of well-being and unconditional happiness.

Becca suggested that, while the book says to do one a day, one a week has been working for her. I’m going to start out trying that and see how it goes. Every Sunday, I’m going to read from this book and do a practice and I’m thinking that I’ll post about my reflections here.

You might be thinking, “Sarah, this is a blog about writing. How does this fit in?”

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of trouble writing when I’m stressed out and my depression is weighing me down. I become lethargic and I don’t want to do anything, much less spread my soul across a story. Writing takes a lot of energy for me. I’ve been struggling with getting myself into a routine of writing every day, which I think is vital. If this book can give me new perspectives and help me get into a more peaceful place with myself, it can only improve my writing. Maybe some of my reflections can even help you.

So, here we go.

Chapter One: Be for Yourself

This chapter happens to be about something that I’ve struggled with most of my life, and which I’ve gotten much better at thanks to therapy. It’s about being on your own side.

The book says that the best times to do the practice in this chapter is when you’re feeling bad, when someone’s pressuring you to do something, or when you’re not doing something for your own good that you know you should. When you face these situations, it suggests (among other things):

  • thinking of being with someone who cares about you, to help you feel like you matter
  • recall a time when you had to be strong or fierce on your own behalf, and call on that energy
  • ask yourself: Being on my own side, what’s the best thing to do here?

This can be harder than it sounds. I know that my problem was – and sometimes still is – having trouble telling the difference between being selfish and taking care of myself. I often sacrificed my own happiness to make the people around me happy, and I slacked off on doing things that would be good for me. I wasn’t really on my own side. As a result, I ended up surrounding myself with a lot of people who felt they could walk all over me.
I’ve gotten much better at this, and actually, it was using the same sort of tactics this chapter suggests. It took months and months before I got particularly good at it, and I know I could still use work, but I know that ever since I built that feeling of self-worth, I’ve felt so much better.

I think the lesson I want to take away from this and that I hope you take away from this is: It’s not selfish to be good to yourself.

Does this sound like something that could help you, or do you have more suggestions? What do you think of this new addition to the blog? Comment below.