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It Helps to Focus on the Positive Stuff

It Helps to Focus on the Positive StuffThings are OK as they are. That’s the one fact I’ve been struggling with recently.

I have this image in my mind as to how I want things to be. I want to make lots of money, I want a house in the mountains, I want to get married. All of this I worry about on a near-daily basis. These are also the things that drive me to work, to be better, and to achieve more things.

In talking about it with loved ones, I explain the ennui, and the feeling of being paranoid and the feeling of being stuck and they tell me to focus on the positive. I never really took it to heart.

Finally last night, lying in my bed waiting for the sleep to come, I began to give thanks for what I had. A pretty good apartment, a really nice support structure and the freedom to pretty much do what I want. If I got sick again and couldn’t work, my parents would help with money. I have disability income that would help, too, so money really isn’t that big of an issue. I have a pretty good apartment that, despite its flaws, allows me to have a roof over my head. So it’s not imperative that I have my house in the mountains just yet. At least I’m not out on the streets.

It occurred to me, though, that I was working myself up over things that weren’t big issues.

Today, and from here on out, I’m going to try to remember that things are, in reality, pretty good for me. I’m going to focus on the positive aspects of my life. For one thing, I’m a regular contributor for the New York Times. This is pretty big. The fact that I’ve been able to do this with schizophrenia is pretty amazing.

For another thing, I’m pretty comfortable. I’ve got a nice bed to sleep in and a comfortable couch and I’m OK with money. I’ve also got an amazing family and amazing friends who stick by me and help me out whenever anything bad happens. I can trust them with my anxiety and complaining and depression and everything else.

The point is that I’m learning to focus on the good stuff. I think it would help a lot of people to remember what’s good in their lives.

It would help a lot of people to practice gratitude for the blessings they have instead of focusing on the stuff that they think needs changing.

Many times we forget that the good is pretty good and most of the time the bad isn’t that bad. It could definitely be worse.

For the longest time, I was pretty good about not worrying about the little stuff, because no matter what it was, it didn’t compare to being schizophrenic. Then I started to get better and better and the little things started to bother me more and more. I’d like to go back to the notion that whatever it is that’s bothering me, it really isn’t that bad.

Gratitude helps you remember the things that make everything OK. It helps you remember the things you take for granted and it helps you remember that no matter how bad life may seem at the moment, it still has its good points. When you remember those good points and focus on the positive, you realize that things are OK. There’s definitely still room for improvement, but no matter what, things are OK.

I’m hoping that focusing on the positive, embracing the negative and practicing gratitude more often will help me with my depression. Even if it doesn’t, at least it’s a start, right?

It Helps to Focus on the Positive Stuff

Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). It Helps to Focus on the Positive Stuff. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 19 Oct 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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