Goodbyes are so hard (or, why I’m saying see ya later to TV)

I’m currently working on something that’s been years in the making.

That thing is: not being on anti-depressant medication. I have to say, it’s been pretty tough the last few months. Part of how I’m going about it is writing my own prescription for what I need to live a meaningful life. This involves a number of things, which I’m planning to write about soon in an up-coming blog post (stay tuned!).

One of the factors of my plan? Less TV.

This comes about because I’ve noticed a recurring pattern of action and response. The action is : watching TV, whether episodes in a series or a movie, usually with dinner (or lunch!), and may be anywhere from one twenty minute episode to three movies in a single day (yep, Oceans 11, 12 and 13 one after the other! Yes, it was epic).

I don’t have a belief that watching TV is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’, rather, I’ve noticed that for me personally, when I switch it off after finishing, most often I feel a bit crappy. Either tired, or bored, or just kind of empty and frustrated. Which tells me: TV is not filling my cup or meeting my needs.

I’m also noticing that increasingly, while the TV is on, I’m picking up my phone and just casually checking in on instagram or something similar. Which tells me: I’m not fully engaged in the TV watching.

The hard part though?

I have the thought ‘All I want to do is lay on the couch and watch TV’ multiple times a day. It’s a really tricky part of depression, (and also everyday life!) where our thoughts really aren’t true, or helpful. In the case of this thought, I have tried appeasing it, and going ahead and watching the TV, and I’ve also tried opposing it, by going to work or going for a run, or doing anything else. As I mentioned, when I’ve been appeasing the thought, I’m mostly ending up feeling crappy. When I’ve been opposing it? I usually end up feeling better.

So I’ve decided to make a call – this thought is no longer helpful, and therefore I’m going to let it be there without letting it run my life. My more in-tune self knows that I feel better when I do something that isn’t watching TV, so that’s what I’m going to do.

goodbyes-are-so-hardThe problem remains, I’m still going to have the thought that I want to watch it. How do I deal with that?

Three things:

  1. Practice ACT principles of making space for the thought through mindfulness and breathing practices, allowing it to be there, and make a choice to act based on my values, and
  2. Prepare alternatives for those times when I want to watch it.
  3. Not go cold turkey. I’m allowing myself TV nights on Friday and Sunday.

The alternative activities I’ve come up with so far are:

  • have a bath
  • read a book
  • do some colouring in
  • do some writing
  • do some cooking

Have you got any other ideas about what to do in the evening that doesn’t involve a screen? Do you want to watch less TV too?

Why a Bad Day is OK

It's a peupty day

We have high expectations, these days

With so much opportunity for having multiple careers, online business, doing it all, creating a life you love – it’s easy to develop the perception that you’re not doing well enough in life until you reach a point where every day you’re jumping out of bed, stoked to get going with your day, and looking forward to the times when you get to ‘work’ (because you love it so much it doesn’t feel like work).

As a bit of a follow on from my last post, about how it’s a normal human condition to have feelings such as rage, grief, shame and sadness (although often referred to as ‘negative’ feelings, I like to think of them as ‘uncomfortable’) I thought I’d share a similar story this week – it’s also part of being human to just have a Bad Day.

The Bad (Day) news

While the above description of creating a life you love every.single.day. is an enticing thought, I think having a goal like this is potentially harmful. Because even those of us who are working in areas we are passionate about, doing meaningful things, are still entitled to plain and simple Bad Days. A Bad Day could simply mean going about your normal day feeling a bit blah, or it could mean being curled up on the couch binge watching crap TV and going through two boxes of tissues – or maybe for you a Bad Day looks totally different.

It’s inevitable that you will have Bad Days. Because even in the most thoughtfully, purposefully crafted lives, shit happens. Life is unpredictable and sometimes chaotic. People change their minds, crises occur and lives are lost – every day. Sometime or another, these things will affect you. And sometimes? You might have a Bad Day when there is no apparent external reason.

The good news?

Having a Bad Day doesn’t mean all was in vain and you are failing at life. In a similar message to last week’s – all feelings are part of the natural human experience – having an occasional crappy, unproductive, unmotivated, shitty day is also part of the human experience. Depending on the circumstances surrounding it, even a Bad Week, or a Bad Month could be entirely appropriate.

Beating yourself up about not having achieved that life of perpetual bliss only adds to the Bad Day-ness. On your next Bad Day, perhaps you could consider offering yourself some compassion and acceptance?

Oh. I’m having a Bad Day. What could I do for myself in this moment that is kind and loving?

It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that – you don’t have to search for a reason, or worry about when the Bad Day-ness will end. Chances are, it will end*. Practicing acceptance and being kind to yourself in the moment though, will likely make your Bad Day a little bit more bearable.

How about you? Ever had a Bad Day?**Did you beat yourself up about it?

*And if it doesn’t – if it’s one Bad Day after another, for more than a few weeks – you might consider seeking some external support, from a place like beyondblue.

**(trick question – I know you have!)

I am, therefore I feel

Feelings (and thoughts, for that matter) are a natural human experience. For a while there, with pop culture movements like positive psychology, some people came to a conclusion that they should be feeling happy all the time. And if, for whatever reason, they weren’t feeling happy, then there was something wrong with them.

I wholeheartedly disagree with that idea.

Good and bad feelings

One of the reasons this came about was the categorization of emotions into ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ emotions. If I name four random emotions, lets say, anger, grief, shame and joy, can you pick out which one of those is the ‘positive’ one? I’m sure you can. But how about if a family member of yours just died? Would joy really be an appropriate emotion, or would grief fit the bill better? I’m going to go with grief.

When we move away from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ and ‘positive’, and start to re-sort our emotions in different categories like ‘pleasant’ and ‘unpleasant’, ‘comfortable’ and ‘uncomfortable’ our previously perceived ‘negative’ emotions suddenly take on a different light. Now we can appreciate them for their relevance, and start to think about the meaning they might add to our lives.

A life with only happiness and joy would be: mania

Even though we’re conditioned to thinking that if we’re not feeling tip-top then there’s something wrong with us, it’s interesting to know that people who actually experience on-going, high levels of energy and pleasant emotions may be classed as experiencing a manic episode. It’s a normal and necessary part of life to experience times of less energy, of sadness, anger and other, less pleasant, emotions.

Try noticing your inner landscape

The human experience involves experiencing a whole range of emotions, from sadness, anger and frustration, to joy, love and excitement. You can’t be one without the other. Learning how to be aware of our current feelings and notice them for what they are without needing to judge them as good or bad is a huge step forward. You can practice this by:

  • Naming them (oh, I’m feeling frustrated) – this is often easier with a list or a set of flashcards in front of you
  • Noticing how your body feels – instead of focusing on the thoughts surrounding the feelings, noticing what physical sensations you can pick up.
  • Taking a time out when you’re having an argument or disagreement, and spending a few minutes tuning in to what’s going on internally.

 

Instead of trying to spend my life being happy, I’m now much more interested in being fulfilled. Fulfillment comes with a range of different emotions, and I’m trying to practice accepting these varied feelings as much as possible, even when it’s uncomfortable.

How about you? Do you strive for happiness only, or do you also appreciate the down times for what they are?

Five ways to move for your mood that you might not have thought of…

We’re all being constantly bombarded with statistics and information telling us we don’t do enough exercise, we’re too fat and we’re not burning enough energy because we sit all day.

I’m not (necessarily) disagreeing with those sentiments, but I do believe that moving your body is about SO MUCH more than just energy burnt, or minutes logged. For me, moving your body is about connection with yourself, enjoyment of life, and self-care – honouring the incredible physical feats our body achieves on a daily basis – for example, when you start moving faster, you don’t have to think about breathing more to get more oxygen – your body is constantly measuring minute changes in your inner-chemistry, and just makes this adjustment naturally – how rad is that! Getting more movement doesn’t need to mean going to the gym, signing up to a team sport or joining a group fitness class.

Here’s a list of five ways to move that are about getting to know your body and the different shapes and movements it’s capable of, but also having fun and feeling good!

ways_to_move_you_might_not_have_thought_of_dance

Free, expressive, no-instruction dance.

Try No lights No Lycra (just what it sounds like – a darkened room where you ‘have a date with yourself on the dance floor’), 5rhythms (creative expressive dance) or just turn up the stereo in your lounge-room! Try thinking about how your body naturally wants to move to the different rhythms you hear, instead of thinking about how you look.

Five-ways-to-move-for-your-mood-that-you-might-not-have-thought-of-roll

Self massage/rolling

Movement ≠exercise. Moving your body doesn’t have to be about getting a sweat up. Using therapy balls, tennis balls, foam rollers, yoga blocks, or other soft-ish bits and bobs you find around, you can get to know areas of your body that you might have lost touch with. Proprioception is the name of our sense of knowing where our body is in space – and self-massage can help to improve this. My favourite therapy balls come from here.

Five-ways-to-move-for-your-mood-that-you-might-not-have-thought-of-play

Your local play-ground

Sure, the local council may have built the play-grounds with kids in mind, but there’s no rules to say adults can’t use them too! If you have kids, take them along and join in the fun, if you don’t have kids, playgrounds are often pretty empty during school hours or first thing in the morning. They are a great place for trying out some movements you might not have done since you were a kid – like hanging, climbing and crawling through tunnels. Bonus – it’s free!

Five-ways-to-move-for-your-mood-that-you-might-not-have-thought-of-bounce

Bouncing

How many years since you bounced on a trampoline? Bouncing has become a popular activity recently, with companies like Bounce Inc and Xtreme Air opening up giant buildings full of fun things like mega trampolines and ball pits. You will definitely get a sweat up with this one – I recommend getting a bunch of friends to join you (so you have a team for dodge ball!).

Five-ways-to-move-for-your-mood-that-you-might-not-have-thought-of-climb

Indoor rock climbing

Indoor climbing is great for many reasons – it’s great for your coordination and neural stimulation (brain training!) and you will definitely feel your arm muscles the next day! More than that though, you need to have trust in the person who is belaying for you (holding your harness rope taut) and it can be quite exhilarating when you make it all the way to the top for the first time – it’s quite high! This is another good one for bringing a friend along – it helps to have someone handy to belay for you. Check out Hardrock if you’re in Melbourne.

 

What about you? Do you have more ideas for fun ways of moving your body?

 

what it’s like to live in a depressed mind

Sometimes there’s doom in my mind

Doom, death and destruction. There’s an air of hopelessness, of grey. My mind points out all the things that are wrong with me, that are wrong with the world. The terror, the death, the injustices and the atrocities that occur daily. It’s fucking depressing in here. How is a person meant to thrive with this going on inside their head, all day every day? When the one who you rely on to advise you, advises you that the world is shit, that you are shit, that it’s all fucked? Sometimes it feels like it’s not worth living when living feels like this.

But.

My mind is also the opposite.

It’s also the place of light and love. It’s the place that keeps trying, keeps offering me new solutions about what might work to make me feel better. It keeps driving my body to get outside and exercise, even when I feel so so tired, tired to my bones. It’s my mind who offers me gems like this little thought –> maybe it’s the world that’s fucked, and depression is a natural, normal response to that. Maybe I’m the ‘normal’ one to feel down about all these things!
My mind can interact with other people I let inside my bubble in these moments, and connect with them on a level so deep that many never make it there. My mind points out that it’s my depression that creates this connection. That and the other person in the interactions’ own brand of fuckedupness.

It’s my mind that tells me that perhaps if I read a book I’ll feel better. It’s my mind that encourages me to cuddle my partner, and phone my mum. It’s my mind that points out that far from the idea that my depression makes me a crap phoney in my profession (movement for mental health and wellbeing) it is actually the greatest gift I can offer the people I work with. I’ve been there. I am there. I get it.

inside-my-depressed-mind

And it’s my mind that reminds me I can offer hope.

Not the hope of a cure, I’m not touting ‘do what I do and you can be like me, cured!’ but rather, hope of a life worth living.

When I’ve been depressed is when I’ve been able to write my most connecting pieces of writing. The pieces that other people connect with, because they’ve been there too. The pieces that talk about grey, about disconnect and overwhelm. About the lack of colour and vibrance in a life. About the drag, the constant drag, where getting through a day feels like wading through honey. All while you plaster a smile on your face, for the moments when you have to make eye contact with people who, if you’re not careful, might see what’s happening behind your eyes. Because what would happen if they did? Society says you wouldn’t be respected at your job anymore. Your employer might find a reason to ‘let you go’. You might lose a perception of capability. People might think you are weak, selfish. Or wallowing in your own self-pity.

You know what though? When I tell people I am feeling depressed, or when I talk about how I’ve felt depressed in the past, the most common thing that comes up?

“Me too.”

It gives people the safety and permission to bare their own soul. It provides a space where they know they won’t be judged. It lets people just be, whoever they are, at their core.

I’m in this profession because I care, and because I’ve been there.

Because I have experienced, in my own mind, my own viscera, the difference it can make. The way movement opens us up to emotions we’ve been holding in. The way muscles clenching and relaxing bursts energy rushing through our veins. The way breath and movement in synch creates the space for us to just be, a blessed relief from the pounding, repetitive thoughts that are so often around at the moment.

I thank my mind for the hope and love and support it gives me, and equally for the depths it’s taken me to, for the connection it’s led to. If it’s anything, this life is a crazy adventure.

Has your fuckupness ever led to a deeper connection? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. xx

Five reasons you should take your movement outdoors

take-your-movement-outsideimage from here

1) It improves your mood

Around here, we talk all the time about how exercise improves mood. Recent studies have shown that this effect might be enhanced by doing your exercise outside! Even spending five minutes exercising outside has been shown to improve mood levels. Why not pop outside on your lunch break and look at a tree!

take-movement-outsideimage from here

2) It makes you exercise harder

When allowed to self-select walking speed both indoors and outdoors, people walk faster outside! This might be due to a ‘distraction’ factor that exists when exercising outdoors, similar to the affect music can have on your exercise intensity. Take your run from the treadmill to the park and see if you have a better time.

five-reasons-move-outsideimage from here

3) It could decrease your risk of heart attack

Viewing a forest (both a picture, and walking in one in real life) has been shown to increase heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is inversely associated with risk of cardiovascular disease, which means the higher the HRV, the lower the risk! And decreased risk of heart disease is always good.

move-outside-5-reasonsimage from here

4) It can increase your immune function

Certain hormones that are released in times of stress (epinephrine, nor-epinephrine and cortisol) all decrease after being in nature. This is great in itself, but as a bonus, the decrease in epinephrine is associated with an increase in immune function by an increase of natural killer cells! (NK cells get rid of cells that have gone a bit wonky, before they turn into something nasty, like cancer).

take-movement-outside-5-reasonsimage from here

5) Exercise feels easier

When asked to exercise at a given level of perceived exertion (how hard you think you are working) people exercised at a higher intensity when they were outdoors. This means that exercising at the same intensity felt easier, so people increased their effort outside. You can workout at your usual intensity and it might feel easier!

Do you prefer to exercise inside or out? How come? Let me know in the comments!

Gladwell et al. Extreme Physiology & Medicine 2013, 2:3 http://www.extremephysiolmed.com/content/2/1/3

Why Belle Gibson deserves our compassion

belle_gibson_compassionPhoto from here

Unless you live in a humpy, you’ve probably heard about Belle Gibson – she (in)famously lied about having cancer while promoting her app, The Whole Pantry.

Since then, many of her stories have unraveled to reveal that most of what she claimed isn’t true. Belle just appeared on 60 minutes last night, which reignited all the media/social media abuse and public anger. My opinion? Belle deserves our compassion.

Before you get all rage-y and start querying my sanity, let me add a clarification:

having compassion for someone doesn’t mean condoning what they have said or done, or letting people act without consequence.

It means recognising a common humanity – which Kristin Neff describes as acknowledging “that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience”  To recognize a common humanity is to treat all people with respect – even when you’re angry and upset with them.

 

I don’t know if you guys have been following either a) Belle or b) the media articles about her, but holy crap! The aggressiveness, insults, and straight-out shaming has been insane.

I understand that people are very angry, hurt, outraged and shocked about finding out that she lied about having cancer – and they’d like to see some consequences for her actions. However, shaming someone (especially publicly) is not a helpful, compassionate or effective way of changing their behavior. Brene Brown says that:

“Shame is about anger and blame, not accountability and change”

and rather than encouraging someone to make amends, actually just leads them to feel “intense pain, isolation, and fear”. So if you’re upset with the action that someone has taken, and would really like to see them being held accountable for their choices, shaming them probably isn’t going to have the desired effect.

 

Here’s an opinion from someone who knows a bit about compassion – the Dalai Lama

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

I’m inclined to agree with him. Compassion isn’t something we should give only to those who are ‘good people’ or who ‘deserve it’. Everyone deserves compassion – even those who we perceive as having done something ‘wrong’. I mean, I get it: it’s hard. It seems reasonable to have compassion for a young child who has been rendered homeless by a natural disaster. But a person who deliberately miss-led a lot of people and made a lot of money in the process? That’s a bit more difficult. Does that mean we should stop trying and revert to name-calling? I don’t believe so.

We’ve all made mistakes. We all will make mistakes in the future.

some big, some small. I fully believe that we should be held accountable for our choices, and in the context of big mistakes that might mean things like paying fines or even going to jail – and this holds true for Belle in her situation. But because someone made a choice that you (or even the majority of our society, or our law) disagree with, doesn’t mean that insults, name calling, threatening and shaming are OK.

What do you think about this? Do you reckon everyone deserves compassion or do some choices leave the chooser undeserving of compassion?

 

Why I made up colleague appreciation day

gratitude

Last week I took it upon myself to celebrate colleague appreciation day at work.

To my knowledge, no such thing officially exists. I was thinking about how much I appreciate my colleagues (for different reasons) and that I wanted to make some sort of gesture to express that gratitude. I thought about doing some baking to bring to work (a favourite way of expressing gratitude of mine) and I also thought about writing some little notes telling my colleagues exactly why it was that I was appreciating them.

 

I know that expressing (or at least, being aware of) your gratitude is linked to wellbeing.

A study by Randy and Lori Sandsone states “Experiencing gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation tends to foster positive feelings, which in turn, contribute to one’s overall sense of well being.” Basically, telling people why you’re grateful, makes you feel good. So I was all set to tell my colleagues how much I appreciated them, knowing that it would likely give them a little boost, but also knowing I’d feel really good.

appreciation

Photo by Christi

Then I thought – why keep all the gratitude to myself?

If I know that expressing gratitude can improve your wellbeing, why not give my colleagues the opportunity to express themselves too? So, colleague appreciation day was born. I did it the old school way – collected ten envelopes, and everyone got one with their name on it. Then over the course of the day, we all wrote little post-its with expressions of gratitude and appreciation on them and popped in the envelope. By the end of the day, everyone had a nice bulging envelope to take home (not to mention a few cookies in their belly!).

 

It worked. People felt great.

But you know what the funny thing was? Everyone felt so connected and cohesive as a team – before anyone had read their own appreciations. It was the simple fact of sharing how they appreciated each other that led to the uplifting feelings, not hearing how people appreciate them. The next day, waiting in line for coffee with one of my colleagues, she said to me (again, before she’d read her collection of appreciations): “After colleague appreciation day yesterday, I went home thinking about what it’s like working here, and I decided that it might actually be the best job I’ll ever have.”

 

There were so many warm and fuzzy feelings going on, I felt a real sense of bonding with my workmates. Have you thought about expressing your gratitude and appreciation in your workplace? Do you think your colleagues would be into it?

Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 7(11), 18–22.

The major factors to consider when choosing the right yoga class for you

Often when I tell people that I work with peeps who want to use movement to help manage their mood, they respond with ‘Oh yeah, like yoga and stuff’.

There’s a reason that yoga is one of the first places peoples’ minds jump to when they think ‘movement’ and ‘mental health’ – several studies have shown results like decreased rumination (focusing on unpleasant thoughts), improved sleep, decreased severity of depression and improved quality of life. One study even found that a yoga intervention worked better for improving depression symptoms than pharmacotherapy (drugs)! So, there’s certainly validity in using yoga as part of a movement practice to improve mood. But, the difference it makes can depend on a few variables…

how-to-pick-yoga

Photo by Leo Prieto

The style

Of course, the style makes a huge difference, and there’s no ‘better or worse’ –it depends on your purpose. If you want to work your muscles, get warm, and sweat it out, and increase energy, power yoga or vinyasa might be good for you. If you want to chill, breathe, stretch and find some calm, perhaps yin yoga or restorative is a better bet. I recommend doing some research, taking some time to think about what you want to get out of your practice, and then make an educated choice about which style you choose. And why not try a few different styles to see what works for you!

 

The teacher

Having completed many yoga classes with both fantastic teachers and those that made me go ‘meh’, I can say from experience that having an experienced teacher who is in it for more than the fitness aspect is a totally different experience than a class run by someone who is mostly about building muscles and improving flexibility. My favourite classes are always those that have some greater meaning or message built into them, whether that be in the form of a theme for the class, or just a few words that the teacher offers during savasana. Traditionally yoga is much more a spiritual practice than just physical poses, and teachers who offer a little bit of something for the psyche on top of teaching the physical movements are always my faves.

2309429837_376cf88225_oPhoto by MorkiRo

 

The time

I’ve done classes that go for 45-50 minutes, like group fitness classes in gyms, and I’ve always found they don’t really allow enough time to do a proper stillness practice. Some have written about savasana (the corpse pose) being the most important asana (pose) in yoga and it’s certainly important from my perspective. I love the practice of it in the studio, of taking a moment to let your body consolidate what you’ve just gone through in the last hour or so, and just focusing on breathing. I also love taking that concept into the rest of your life – allowing time for processing, resting, and taking a breath before moving on to the next thing. In shorter classes, there is usually only a couple of minutes of stillness, which I reckon isn’t enough. My fave classes go for 75 – 90 minutes.

 

The environment

I’ve done yoga in some pretty picturesque places. Like open, bamboo studios surrounded by papaya trees and jungle, or huge, converted warehouses with exposed wood beams and huge windows through which the afternoon sun streams in…And, while it’s not 100% a prerequisite for a good class, I reckon the additional calm and peace that comes from spending time inside a beautiful studio (as compared to a plain walled room with minimal natural light or air flow) is important.

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That’s what I reckon has the most impact on what makes a good class. The other stuff, like the mat or the clothes: less important from my perspective. Although having a good mat is a nice luxury – I’m currently using a really ratty old mat that sheds little pieces of rubber every time I use it. It’s kinda annoying. (Recommendations for good brands of mat welcome!)

 

Did I miss any important considerations for a good class? Where’s the most beautiful studio you’ve practiced in? Let me know in the comments…

Why I’m grateful for the fire

 

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

 

Last night I went to a friends’ house for a dinner party.

It being Melbourne, and it being winter, it was cold. She has a wood fire, so someone went off to light it. Thirty minutes later there were calls of ‘does anyone know how to light a fire?’ and I went and took over tending the smouldering coals. I got that baby cranking in no time, with an adjustment of the air flow and adding some well-placed sticks.As I sat watching the mesmerizing flames take hold, I thought about how handy a skill it is to be able to light a fire.

grateful_fire

When I was growing up, my family home had wood fired hot water.

Even though we lived in rural Western Australia, it was still old-school. And yes, it meant that any time we wanted more than a kettle-full of hot water we had to light a fire and wait half an hour. And yes, this was very annoying. (It also meant I learned the handy skill of chopping wood with an axe, but that’s a different story).

 

 If they had tried to tell me at the time…

I was reflecting last night on how grateful I felt, that I had this skill of fire-lighting, and laughed to myself imagining how I would have reacted if, while grumbling about having to light the fire, my parents had said ‘you’ll be grateful for this one day!’ And, thinking back on it, I wouldn’t choose to do it again. It was annoying and time consuming, and I would prefer to be able to jump in the shower as soon as I arrive home from the beach freezing cold. But I can also see the benefit I got from the experience.

gratitude

Which I thought was a great example of what gratitude means (to me).

To express gratitude for something doesn’t need to mean that you would choose the same thing over, if you were given a choice. It doesn’t need to mean you’re stoked that what happened, happened. It just means that whether the experience was enjoyable or not, you can see that there was some outcome that was meaningful for you. Sometimes it’s really easy to find gratitude for things we perceive as pleasant experiences, and it can be harder to be grateful for things that are less pleasant.

Have you had a shitty (at the time) experience that you can look back on and be grateful for? Let me know in the comments