Today a patient came in trying to deal with disappointment. He has a tradition of taking his family on an annual vacation to Disneyland. This year, for the first time, he can't do it. He can't financially afford it this time. The reality of his current financial situation is what it is; we can't change that. But as we talked about this disappointment he has, he came to an idea for himself. Aside from not being able to do for his family what he wished he could, he also realized that he was beginning a slow but definite spiral down in the direction of depression (something he has suffered from).
As we continued to discuss this, he thought that what he needed was something to look forward to. He, himself, happily anticipates the trip to Disneyland with his family each year and now he doesn't have that to plan for. The end result was that we decided that he should plan one thing per month that he could look forward to. It didn't have to be a big thing, it wouldn't be able to be an expensive thing, it could be small, it could be of short duration. It could be anything. The only requirement, we decided, was that it had to be genuinely exciting for him to think about. It had to be something he could put on his calendar, that he could really, reasonably do, that would truly feel special to him and out of the ordinary. He had to be eager about doing it.
So, part of what he took away from our session today was an intention to come up with those ideas, make that list, and get those activities on his calendar.
As I reflected on this idea, I recognized, not for the first time,--- but was reminded,--- that this can be a part of every day. So, try it for yourself, see if you can make it a point to put some little thing to enjoy into each day.
Have you looked around and noticed how so many people push themselves through their day---day after day---by sheer force of will? No joy, very little pleasure, no place for creative energy to emerge.
It is almost always possible to find a way to put some little pleasant moment in your day. Make a conscious effort to do it; small things can add up. Your life will be better.
An earlier post related to this topic is entitled, The Easy Way