As I mentioned in my last post, my psychologist gave me much to think about when she linked the amount of work I spend on happiness to the fact that I have much to be happy about, which means taking inventory of it all through mindfulness would naturally take a good deal of time. The image that came to my mind was “counting my happy money.” I don’t know why it came to me, maybe because it is like the sayings, “an embarrassment of riches”, “count your blessings”, and “pay it forward”. In any event, I find it kind of amusing and so it has stuck in my mind.

Last week, I focused as well as I could on counting my happy money. Looking at each gold bar in my Fort Knox of things for which I am grateful. I am no stranger to Positive Psychology and know that expressing gratitude is linked to increased happiness.

Even so, I was taken aback about how calming it was to use gratitude and appreciation at the times I was feeling unhappy. When I wrote the post about appreciating my husband even though I was mad at him, he was actually sitting next to me. I knew I was mad at him for the wrong reason. I was taking some parenting stress out on him. But I was still upset. By writing,  felt a gradual re-centering, a misting of calm, that cooled me off, pulled me back into my orbit around reality.

What a soothing exercise. I have used that strategy in the past at a time I was extremely distraught. I just started writing a list of positives, the resources I had that would help the situation. That a very constructive coping strategy, which helped me avoid panic. But using gratitude and appreciation last week, when I was not so stressed, actually made me feel happy and calm.

I am so very thankful to have had the Pay it Forward opportunity. What a gift.

John and I. 9/17/14 by Miguel Cornelio of Momentous Image.

John and me. 9/17/14 by Miguel Cornelio of Momentous Image.