There was a point in time when I was experiencing a prolong period of stress and unhappiness. I was unable to sleep properly, easily irritated, and I lost weight. The situation was so severe that I only managed to have three hours of sleep on some nights, and I had to drink six cups of coffee the next day in order to stay awake through the work day. I knew something was not right, and I researched online to find a way to help get myself out of the vicious cycle.
Firstly, I stopped taking coffee totally. It was challenging during the first week, but once the body gradually got used to the new normal, I don't need coffee to stay awake anymore. I also started to go to sleep at a fixed timing every night, which helped in my effort to not rely on coffee to stay awake.
I also came across a solution that appeared relatively easy to do and would help relieve stress, and I gave it a try.
I found an unused notebook in my cupboard and it became my gratitude journal. Everyday, I write into my journal about one thing that I am thankful for. It does not have to be something special or major. Some of my entries were as simple as being happy that I got myself a bowl of hot fish soup noodles for dinner after a long day of work. Some entries documented simple but heart-warming messages from my friends who shared with me what made them happy that day or recently, and how I truly felt happy for them too.
Sometimes, there would be days whereby I would feel down, be it due to external incidents that occurred or just simply flash back of some unpleasant past events. On those days, I would read the past entries of my journal and I would gradually feel better. And I would be able to recall something to be happy about for that particular day, even if it had not been a nice day.
I will continue to write my gratitude journal. Doing so makes me happier, which comes naturally when I recall something that I am thankful for and writing it down on paper. Doing so is also helping my future self, should one day in the future I have to read those past entries to help me see beyond the dark clouds.