Mab, a 16 year old and the oldest in a set of triplets, would describe herself as bored and boring. She was born and raised in a small town whose water supply was tainted by a factory before she was born, unbeknownst to its residents. As a consequence of consuming and using the water, many people experienced illnesses and, over time, mothers gave birth to kids with birth defects. The factory closed, and the town entered into a deep depression- both financial and emotional. People had no money, no hope for the future, and certainly not their health.
Unlike her sisters, Mab is one of the few people in her community who experiences no physical or cognitive disability. She’s lucky, as if anything in her town is that simple.
No sugar coating here. Life is hard for Mab. She has to seek out happiness- it is never going to just come naturally.
So how do you find happiness when it feels elusive? Start by making a gratitude list. Every day, write five things that made you happy. They don’t have to be huge, this exercise is about training your brain to catch the positive.
For example, Mab might write:
Today I am grateful because…
1. My senior friend gave me an old pair of her incredibly impractical and impossibly fun shoes.
2. My mom made a pie that tasted great.
3. I went on a walk with my best friend.
4. When I walked around town everyone knew me by name and was kind to me.
5. I am close with my sisters and we can talk about everything together.
Would this change the world around Mab? No. But, with enough time and practice, making gratitude lists would improve the way she experiences it.