Do you remember something specific that made you smile or made you happy five days ago? Three days ago?
If yes, fantastic! If not, there’s not need to worry. Memory can be a funny thing. We tend to focus on certain biases that we hold when reflecting back on past moments. It’s just the way we’re wired. This is one method to re-wire your brain.
Throughout the course day – the entire 16-18 hours of it that you’re awake for – there are things that go on that may cause us to experience a mild sensation of joy. Usually, the thing that made you smile is small and easily forgotten. Keeping track of these small, fleeting moments, allows us to appreciate them for what they are – a reprieve from our troubles.
Every night (or throughout the day, depending on how much time is available to you), keep track of something that made you smile. It could be something as silly as the scent of fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen. There are endless possibilities!
What if nothing made me smile today?
That’s fine. We are entitled to bad days. No one is going to blame you if a day doesn’t go your way. It happens. Just remind yourself to keep an eye out for those small moments for another day.
The Point of It All
You may be asking yourself what the point of all of this is. If you’re not asking now, you probably will at some time or another. It does get tedious after a while.
What I would like you to get out of this is a reminder that sometimes things are not so bad. Sometimes, when you feel as if you are stagnating in life and nothing good has ever happened to you, this will serve as some justification that you can be happy. Life is a balancing act of good and bad. When you are depressed, the bad seems to always outweigh the good. This is just one way to balance the scale.
Then, at the end of the month or the year, you can look back at all of those little, tiny moments. It may help you see that maybe, just maybe, the month or the year wasn’t that bad.
We can hoard these moments and use them when we feel down to pick ourselves back up again. Positivity does take some work. The effort that you put into it will only serve to help your future.
These tiny things don’t solve my depression.
That’s not the intention of this exercise. It’s not to cure the depression symptoms, just gradually lessen them. You are forced to look at the present again, not reflect on past mistakes or uncertainties about the future. You give yourself a chance to just … be. Sometimes we get so caught up in the grand scheme that we forget about the tiny details, the tiny steps, that are edging us along. It’s a tough road to recovery and you need all the tools that you can get to pull yourself back up again.
Here’s to the little things!