As regular readers of this blog and those of you that know me in real life will be well aware, the last couple of years have been pretty overwhelmingly shit for me, in many shitty ways. One of the things I really value social media for is the way it means there are always people around to provide (virtual) tea and sympathy when things are crappy. If I’m having a particularly bad day, a quick tweet about it usually means plenty of messages from kind friends, which is beyond lovely. A friend once described these kinds of sympathy-seeking tweets as “sending up a distress flare”, which I thought was very apt!
However, I realised towards the end of last year that I was really sending a lot of these miserable tweets, and not very many happy ones. And while I do find Twitter-sympathy genuinely very beneficial (seriously, I can’t tell you how many nights the only thing that’s stopped me crying was scrolling through lovely tweets from lovely people – so thank you to everyone who’s ever responded to any of my distress flares!), I keep thinking of my ever-wise mum’s advice: if you’re feeling down, count your blessings. By all means take time to be sad, but also make time to think about all the things that make you happy.
This takes effort, believe me I know! If you’re down in the dumps, for whatever reason, it’s easy to dwell on that. It’s very hard to drag your brain in a positive direction. But it is precisely because it is difficult that it is so important. Generally, happiness isn’t something that just happens. Listing all the things you have to be glad about is like a training exercise for your brain, teaching you the habit of looking beyond your immediate sadness.
So, in mid-November, I decided that every Monday, I would tweet five things that were cheering me up that day/week. Sometimes they’re personal things:
Long chat with WoodsieTwin y’day made me realise just how much I’m looking forward to spending xmas with my wonderful family #mondaycheer
— Laura Woods (@WoodsieGirl) December 17, 2012
Sometimes they’re universal things:
Chocolate. Chocolate is a thing. Imagine a world where chocolate wasn’t a thing – that would suck, right? #mondaycheer
— Laura Woods (@WoodsieGirl) February 25, 2013
Sometimes they’re random things:
— Laura Woods (@WoodsieGirl) February 4, 2013
And sometimes, they’re just silly cute things:
— Laura Woods (@WoodsieGirl) March 4, 2013
But they are always cheery things! I’ve found doing this has made a huge difference to my emotional outlook. It’s not always easy: some Mondays I can barely think of anything at all, which is when you’ll see a bias towards lots of abstract concepts and cute animal pics in my #mondaycheer tweets! But just the act of making myself think of cheerful things, plus the incredibly lovely reaction from the rest of Twitter, puts me in a good mood to start the week.
I find this incredibly beneficial to do, and I’ve had lots of tweets suggesting that my followers also enjoy it! I’m also starting to see more and more people post their own #mondaycheer tweets too, which is wonderful. Because lets face it, Mondays are generally not fun-days (see what I did there?? I’m here all week…). Starting the day and week off with a few reminders of what you have to be happy about can make whatever else is coming up feel just that little bit brighter. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know my Mondays can always use more cheer