Counting Gifts/ Emotional Health

The Most Simple Way To Boost Your Mood

distressed, moody wall

A Simple Way To Boost Mood

A pen, paper and a resoluteness to find my thankful. This is the most simple way I have found to boost my mood.

I know, I know. You have heard it before, it is nothing new — make a list of things you are thankful for and it could change you. It has even been studied. It may seem simple. but sometimes the most simple solution can be the most profound.

Even in my hardest days of cancer and chemo, even in my darkest days of anxiety, choosing to find something to be thankful for and deliberately writing my finds in list form changed me and helped get me through.


Simple Mood Booster

Sometimes choosing to list thanksgiving can be an instant mood lifter and stabilizer.

Other times it is not so immediate, but this practice of thanksgiving is one of the most powerful, life-changing ways to change your thinking (there is power in our thoughts!) and mold your brain—to retrain your brain to think on what is good, even in the midst of bad.


Listing My Thankful During Cancer

When I was actively fighting cancer, I read the book One Thousand Gifts and was taught how to have a pen and journal handy at all times, lying open on a table even, inviting you to think of just one more thing to write on the list, to spur thanksgiving all throughout the day.

This practice brought joy and calm in the midst of so much emotional and physical turmoil. It grounded me and reminded me constantly that the God who made the universe also cared for ME, had His hand on me, and showed his love for me in all the ways, big and small.


Look For Thankful Treasures

We called these thankful finds “treasures” during my cancer fight—my 3 Lovelies and I. We went on treasure hunts every day and so very many amazing treasures came our way.

I’ve noticed recently while reading or in my early morning time with God that I keep running into reminders of how important it is to practice thankfulness…and how it brings about joy, trust, and peace….3 priceless treasures!


Thankfulness as a Mood Booster

I want these things. I want consistent true joy! I want consistent peace! I want to look up, heart connected, eyes locked in trust.

I want these things, especially when I find myself in the midst of worries or fear, or when my anxiety disorder rears its ugly head or life simply brings me down.

Trust is a beautiful side effect of thankfulness. It sure beats some typical side effects of mood medication used to boost mood.

Don’t get me wrong, I am super thankful for mood medication and would not be who I am without it, and honestly would be unable to slow my anxious thoughts enough to concentrate on finding my thankful, but how nice to have a simple mood booster with only positive side effects in my arsenal!


Retrain Your Brain, Boost Your Mood

Listing things I’m thankful for trained my mind to see even the smallest things that otherwise would be missed.

It caused me to be able to breathe and slow, even if it was just for a minute to pick up that pen and write down another discovery.

It takes a bit of practice, but it is a learned habit that is a bit like riding a bike. Once you learn you just know how to do it, and if you get out of the habit of doing it regularly, you can pick it right up!

Even if it takes just a bit of practice, it is familiar and becomes something that comes with ease once again.

Example, if I stop typing right this moment, and deliberately slow for a few seconds and think about what I’m thankful for, it will come quite easily, even though I have been out of practice.

I slow, I pause, I ponder.

  • Birds chirping
  • Candle flame flickering bringing cozy on a cloudy day
  • The soft blanket draped on my lap, a gift from my sister in law who knows I love neutrals & soft.
  • A new, longer charging cord so my phone reaches me without having to reach.
  • A printer full of paper right beside me to print out a healthy snack recipe for when teens get home this afternoon.
  • A new to me decorative pillow, only a dollar at the thrift store, but I LOVE it.
  • Nourishment for my growling stomach that I have waiting for in my refrigerator. Chocolate Almond Chia Oats!
  • Plans to shop tomorrow with my high school senior for scrubs, a momentous step into her medical field future.

See, that was not too hard, to slow and start listing–but my mindset became immediately positive and thankful.

Thankful thoughts replace fear thoughts. Thankful thoughts replace complaining thoughts. Thankful thoughts lift my thinking toward the Giver of all the gifts.

Ultimately, this is what changes my mood. My thoughts directed upward. It lifts my heart up, which lifts my eyes up to my Maker which brings connected calm.

Psalm 121 Bible Verse to help with mood


Let’s List the Gifts and Lift Our Mood

How about you? Have you ever listed what you are thankful for? I miss actively doing it (look at this great planner and post about listing the gifts from 2015) and want to form the habit again.

I participated in counting 1,000 gifts but once I hit 1,000 I slowed down (I did make it to 1,149), but then stopped posting them.

I think it is a great time to pick it back up again. It is graduation season and our firstborn is graduating and this spring is crazy!

I want to have a stable mood despite a busy season or instead of getting down about my baby growing up, so I’m going to continue to find my thankful and list the gifts and plan on sharing here on New Nostalgia more often.

Want to join me? If you do and share them either in list form or join me as I share images on Instagram and Facebook, share your own, tag it with #NNThankful so I can see! Or start now and share 3-5 things in that comments that you are thankful for, right now at this moment.

I can’t wait to read them!


You may also be interested in…

How to Write Morning Pages – A Simple Way To Journal

When Grief Hits

14 Ways I Found Relief From Severe Anxiety


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  • Sandy Folden
    April 20, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I am so thankful for you ,Amy. Your post always lifts me up ,makes me think .I am going to try writing a list.

    • AmyNewNostalgia
      April 20, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      Sandy…your words go straight to my heart and encourage it so! Thank you for reading. Yes! Try listing. Start small and slow. I’m going to have a “Listing Our Thankful” challenge on Facebook and Instagram…would love to interact with you there.

  • Alison Rash
    April 20, 2018 at 6:11 am

    I am SO grateful for you, Amy. This post is such a sweet reminder for me to start writing down my list again.

    • AmyNewNostalgia
      April 20, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      I’m so grateful for YOU. What a gift to sit across from you this morning and talk about our thankful. <3