The feeling of stress is starting to dissipate slightly. I’m currently feeling like the task list is manageable and that I will get the necessary stuff done in the necessary time.

However. I suspect it will upswing again in the future. I suspect that I get this false sense of security once Monday has passed under the boat of my life. It’s one of the hardest days for me in work, and I often feel a sense of relief once it’s behind me.

I’m a bit empty of pressing thoughts this morning. Calm is on me. The weather is beautiful and the garden is peaceful in the morning light through my bedroom window. I don’t feel any rush or pressure to get things done.

Maybe it’s time to talk about gratitude.

Studies(*) seem to show that taking the time to be actively grateful for the gifts of your life can be one of the best things you can do in terms of increasing both your mental and physical health. So, let’s try some of that:

Preamble: Whenever a do a gratitude exercise, I automatically go to one of the times of greatest unhappiness and despair in my life; about 6 months before I left Japan. It’s easy to say that I’m grateful for my current life and for meeting my lovely husband in that context, but in fact I’m grateful for both for so many other reasons. So, I’m going to try to keep things current and not spend any more time than I have to in a miserable past.

  • We have enough money.
    I think anyone who’s not in the category of the uber rich sometimes feels the pinch of having to budget and save for things to spend on. And of course we do too. We may not have a lot earning potential, but our life has low overhead as well, and we can afford to purchase most things we want. Food is never scarce. Nor are toys for children or adults.
  • We don’t fight about money.
    I have the perception that many couples, even if they don’t actively fight about their finances, aren’t exactly on the same page as each other, and experience a lot of uncertainty or discomfort in the managing of their money. We don’t have that. It just feels easy and smooth. And at approaching 7 years into the marriage, and 9 years together total, I’m feeling pretty safe in this assessment.
  • Healthy Children.
    Maybe whiny children (right now one of them keeps trotting in and out of the room to whine at me about the other one), but certainly healthy and growing strong. I sometimes get caught up in minor (long-term unimportant) stresses about things like the variety of their diet, their low speech acquisition and poor pronunciation, whether they’re “smart”, whether I’m strict enough, whether I’m too strict – and the multitude of other concerns that can start to become stressful or even overwhelming if I allow them to be.
    And I know that anyone whose child is not healthy would give anything in the world to have such worries.
    But not just in the context of what it’s not, my relationship with my kids is pretty good (Sure! They’s only 4, but still.) and I feel loved, loving, grateful. It was important to me to have them in my life. And I’m glad they’re here.
  • A sharp mind.
    I sometimes want to be perceived as intelligent, and at times like that I get worried that I’m not and that’s a source of stress. But only because I’m getting wrapped up in the outside world’s view of me.(**)
    But if I turn my awareness towards how my brain actually works and the things I’m capable of comprehending and appreciating … well, I really am grateful for that gift. It’s not something that I’ve done anything to deserve, so there’s a bit of guilt that goes along with appreciating it. But then so many things that I’m grateful for are maybe a bit “luck of the draw” too. I’m still grateful for them.

There are many more things to express gratitude for, but the day needs day-ing, and the children are very very awake, so it’s time to go.

(*) Citation needed?

(**) I got my Monday email from Geneen Roth yesterday with the following message: “Treat Yourself as if you were already Enough” and it made me realise that all the time I spend checking Facebook, and worrying about how others perceive me is about a deeper worry that I’m not truly “enough” in and of myself, and I feel like I’ve no control over that, so instead I work on the substitute of making myself appear to be “something” in the eyes of others.