An Encouraging Project for Difficult Times

My life has had its fair share of ups and downs, I went through another round of despairing circumstances a few years ago.  I wrote a little about it in my second book Unbroken.

Through that time, I could not find seem to my way to a solution for some intensely pressing problems. It was tough not to give up, I’m not going to lie.

It was a hard season of life.  I took more than a few pajama days during that time.

One morning while going through it, I happened to catch an interview on television where a man talked about having a “happiness project.”  He described how having a method of gratitude and positivity had actually pulled him through a season of suicidal depression.

He went onto explain that expressing gratitude and extending kindness are two things that can chemically alter the brain; they can increase serotonin and release dopamine.

I listened, took notes and came up with my own method out of what he did.

Later that day, I bought a notebook and set a goal for 30 days.

For one month, I would write 10 daily things that brought me joy or positive energy, things I could find to be grateful for.  My list varied from a favorite song coming on the radio that I hadn’t heard in a while, the sun shining outside my window, my son calling with good news, my dog laying against me, someone holding a door for me, etc.

The 2nd part of the process required saying something complimentary or positive to three different people every day.  Whether in email, phone call, mailing a card, sending a text, and so on.

(Gotta be sincere with this part, you can’t feel like you are just meeting a quota or it won’t work for you – nor be felt as genuine by the receiver.)

I set out to do both of those things every day for 30 days, I figured I didn’t have anything to lose and it might at least lift someone else’s spirit or help me find a few things to be positive about when every area of life seemed to be crashing and burning!

And so I began.

It was an uplifting, quiet process that made me feel I had some control over the stability of my life. So far so good, yet nothing miraculous happened.

About halfway through the 30 days, things hadn’t yet changed…however, I began to.  My emotional energy began to shift.

I felt more positive concerning those same upsetting, uncertain situations.

I began to feel more optimistic and energetic toward solutions.  I felt the stirring of hope.

Life then gradually began to level out and become more calm and easily manageable.  It was as though I had internally changed directions and my life began to move with me.

Doing those simple things everyday led me to easy breathing and optimism.  It gave me something to look forward to everyday.

Having that joy and kindness project in the midst of raging circumstances, carried me through and eventually drove me out of the darkest days of that time.

By the end of the 30 days, I felt internally cleansed and much stronger to face the things I’d been struggling with.

To this day I return to that process every time I sense that I’m sinking low about a situation, or if I’m feeling like circumstances are out of control, perplexing, and discouraging.

Consider a 30 day positivity project of your own, you have nothing to lose!

Besides, it works.

Still learning,

More optimistic,


Author of books: Unhooked, and Unbroken, Navigating the Madness of Family Dysfunction, Addiction, Alcoholism and Heartache

Host of:  The Unhooked Podcast

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For information, comfort, encouragement and support:

Codependents Anonymous

Parent Support – TAPU

Family Recovery Support



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