Even I am grateful for kittens. Adopt at the Jacksonville Humane Society 904-493-4567
Can We Be Grateful and Depressed?
I don’t know what to believe. Can I feel depressed and grateful at the same time or not? I was leafing through some things on the internet this weekend and a Huffington Post Webinar came up called Thrive. One of the topics, from a blithe Shawn Achor, was how gratitude is a “super drug,” and that his research shows a person’s brain cannot feel depression and gratitude at the exact same time.
There are books written about this subject – in What Happy People Know Dan Baker says, “It is a fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. The two states may alternate, but are mutually exclusive.” Then I read Theresa J. Borchard’s beautifully written piece in PsychCentral.com and she talks about the fact she is grateful for her kids and a nice breakfast table laid by her husband, but if she found out she was going to die tomorrow, she’d be “relieved”. Dee says, “Only stupid people can’t feel more than one thing at a time,” but she had a headache when she said it, and I think she was feeling a bit grumpy…
Mr. Achor, who wrote The Happiness Advantage, suggests a Gratitude Journal: write down three different things you are grateful for each day. I guess he wants us to keep it fresh, so we don’t get bored and depressed with the same three things every day (“Ho hum, my children are great, yawn city I’m sober, blah blah blah I look good for my age…”).
I love this idea, because even though I try to find the humor in most situations, I often forget to be grateful. And with all due respect to Ms. Borchard, I would not find relief in impending death. I mean I get blue once in a while…
I’m not going to bore you with my Micro-Gratitude (another term of art I discovered which I can only take to mean: when life gives you lemons be happy you didn’t have to buy them at The Fresh Market and juggle). Or the more technical, brain function reasons for the gratefulness hypothesis. Or God forbid, incorporate it into the bottom of the blog pledge: Today I’m not drinking because I am grateful for zippers and kitten adoptions!!!
But I will start today with gratitude for:
- Starbucks instant coffee;
- Clouds during our Florida heat wave;
- The poem I received last night from a young lady who called me an “angel” and thanked me for helping her family recover from alcoholism.
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
Today I’m not drinking because I am grateful for zippers and kitten adoptions.