In my part of the country, we’ve just gotten our first taste of winter…several days in a row in the 30′s and 40′s filled with either rain or snow, with occasional heavy winds. We had day after day of sunless gloom, which can really take a toll on the spirit. And it’s not even December yet! Take that and add in the local news, which is 85% bad and it’s easy to start going downhill real fast, if you know what I mean.
So, I’ve decided that this year I’m going to make a conscious effort to not let myself be pulled into the abyss of depression or sadness in those times when the world seems like a hopeless case. This is going to take some effort, but I know I can do it.
It starts with the news. The media today is omnipresent, always eager to dish up the gory details of any crime, the newest scam, natural disasters, threats to our health and/or finances and any other depressing, shocking, or tragic news they can lay their hands on. My rule is to listen to just enough to be aware of what I need to know …and no more. When they start repeating themselves (and they always do,) I hit the “mute” button. I’ve also taken to hitting it when I realize that something is starting to dirty up my head with unnecessary negativity. Why should I listen to garbage that just makes me feel bad?
As for the weather - on days when it is absolutely miserable outside, I’m going to make an effort to occupy myself with pleasurable and interesting things inside. And when that’s harder than usual, I’ll just close the damned blinds! I may have to start reciting, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” But, one way or the other, I’m fighting back! Winter’s not going anywhere, so I just need to find ways to cope…
Oh, I don’t expect to feel like Susie Sunshine every day. I am human, after all. But at least I won’t be a victim of circumstances surrounding me in the world.
From now on I intend to take a more active role in shaping my own reality. I’ll choose my reactions a little more carefully. Rather than “It’s so depressing outside!” I’ll think, “It’s so cozy and warm inside.” And rather than “Damn! My appointment was for 30 minutes ago and I’m still waiting,” it’ll be “Oh good. I’ve got more time to read my book.” You get the drift.
It won’t be easy, but I don’t choose to let the news discourage me. Nor do I choose to let the dark days of winter weigh me down and fill me with hopelessness. Instead, I’m going to make different choices.
I’m going to opt for joy.
I’m going to choose…happiness.
Wish me luck?