Finding happiness in the everday
Unfortunately, for most families supporting someone with dementia, the path is long and uncertain. We know it is tough, and that some days can be filled with anger, resentment and physical exhaustion. But amongst every dark day we are certain there are little sparks of light. Moments, however fleeting, of joy, laughter, and happiness. These little moments can be hard to spot, and even harder to remember, but we guarantee you they are there, and if you can get into the practice of identifying those little moments of happiness, you may soon find that more sparks of happiness start to appear.
So, what are some simple things that you can build into your daily life help you find these moments of happiness? A growing body of research now shows an association between gratitude practice and increased happiness. Taking time each day to acknowledge the good things in our lives can have positive benefits to mood and can help us build resilience.
One simple activity that can increased feelings of happiness is daily journaling. Journaling can take several forms, and you can approach it in a way that works for you. Here are some examples:
- Find a notebook and plan a time each day to write about the simple things in your life for which you are grateful. If your mind is full of negative thoughts, begin with the smallest of things – the way the sun shines through the window or a sweet memory from the past.
- If writing it down is too hard, speak it aloud, or share it with a friend or family member.
- You might start a gratitude jar, write down one good thing from each day, put a date on it and place it in a jar – leave it in plain sight, to remind you of the growing list of good things in your life.
- If you are creative, you might draw, paint, sew, or cross stitch your gratitude, and frame it, hang it on the wall – or keep it private, but go back to it regularly.
Some of these ideas might feel a little silly or a bit awkward, but we encourage you to give it a go. There is strong evidence that it is the act of saying out loud or writing down what it is that has brought you joy that helps to cement that feeling and make it easier to recognise next time.
There is no doubt that the journey we are on can be filled with sadness and constant reminders of loss. This makes it so important that we grieve actively and consciously along the way by noticing and allowing our feelings to be with us. But it is equally important that we then find ways to move out of the grief and move to a place of rest and respite. Why not try journaling and see if that is a tool worth adding to your toolbox?