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Everyone seems to talk about how long, dreadful, and awful Mondays are and I don’t entirely disagree. I always mourn the close of another weekend and the start of another work week at a job I dislike but nothing seems to get me like Wednesdays.

On Wednesday morning it feels like it should be the halfway point of the work week but there’s still a whole day looming in front of you before you can call the week half over. By Wednesday night it feels like the next day should be Friday but there’s a whole other day looming in front of you before the weekend arrives (have I ever told you I’m the real life Debbie Downer?).

It’s so easy for me to get lost in my mind, to let the wheels of worry or dread spin round and round while I trudge through another day. And then the “if onlys” start: if only I enjoyed my job, if only I made more money, if only the days went by quicker, if only I could travel more, if only I was using my degree, if only, if only, if only.

One of the things I’m trying to adopt as a Lenten practice is recognizing when these thoughts come and turning them in on themselves. When a negative thought comes to the front of my mind, I stop to process why it came and what I’m feeling in that moment. Then I utter a prayer of guidance and gratitude– guidance for positive thinking and gratitude for the things, people, and gifts I’m blessed to have in my life.

It sounds so simple, so cliche, but the best way I’ve found to stop my pessimism dead in its tracks is to remind myself that all hope is not lost, that there are still blessings to be found in even the hardest of times, that beauty is all around me. And sometimes there’s a struggle in letting go of the negative thoughts because pessimism is a very self absorbed activity and, as humans, our nature is to dwell on ourselves.

But gratitude turns our lens outward, away from ourselves and our fears and worries. It reminds us that the world and our very lives are bigger than just us, a shocking revelation I know.

So on this Wednesday morning, as melancholia started to take over, I paused to think of a few things I’m grateful for on this very day, in this very moment: rain boots, a pause in precipitation during my walk to work, early morning exercise class, trees, laughter with co-workers.

I’ve been trying to take the words of poet Mary Oliver to heart:

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

What are you, on this wet and weary Wednesday, paying attention to, astonished by, grateful for? Tell the world about it!