(Note: This blog contains motivational elements that have the potential to impact mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. This is neither medical nor mental health advice. Always follow the advice of your licensed mental health professional before doing anything that might trigger you).
Let’s start by acknowledging the elephant in the room: a significant proportion of y’all had to Google the definition of “effervescence” before continuing. If you did, you probably found this:
1. (of a liquid)giving off bubbles; fizzy. "an effervescent mixture of cheap wine, fruit flavours, sugar, and carbon dioxide"
2. vivacious and enthusiastic. "effervescent young people"
Now, I can’t talk about bubbles, but there’s something about being vivacious and enthusiastic that feels like a glass of cold, crisp water on a hot day right now during these troubled times.
Etymologically, the two building block words of “effervescence” (“vivacious” and “enthusiastic”) both contain references to being filled with “life” or the “life force”. How do we stay effervescent in 2022 with all of the this*gestures at everything* happening around us? As cheesy and bumper-stickery as this may sound, gratitude may indeed be the answer. Let’s face it: there’s precious little happening around and to us right now that we ought to be grateful for.
As a relatively new mindset coach with a focus on Millennial-aged professionals and entrepreneurs, I’m mindful that the conventional wisdom in my industry is to embrace positive thinking regardless of circumstances.
However, I consider that to be toxic, a form of “spiritual bypassing”, giving privileged people a free pass to ignore the plight of many others who don’t have their advantages. (Ignoring an unpleasant reality is also not terribly great for mental health, either). Recent years have brought unprecedented upheavals to the world that we thought we knew, and that takes its toll. It’s important to acknowledge the impact of negative things. It’s essential to feel how you want to feel without the additional layer of guilt around not being positive all the time.
True gratitude, however, doesn’t require you to be delusionally positive. I can think of three ways you can harness gratitude to power your own effervescence in 2022.
#1. Acknowledge Where You’re At (However Awful)
When you use GPS, you can’t get to a destination without a starting point. What trips people up is that if the starting point is crappy –not enough money, a breakup, or just a bad mental health state regardless of cause – they tend to want to go straight to the peak emotional feelings of joy, gratitude, and love. Thing is, you can’t get to a new reality by denying reality. Start by acknowledging and accepting, as best you can, the situation that you’re currently in. If you’re in an urgent situation, reach out for support before continuing. Trying to move into a positive space when there is an active event happening to disrupt your sense of calm will simply overwhelm you. Other than that, start with where you are and gradually go from there.
#2. Count the Blessings of Your Basics
Acknowledging everything that is so right now in your space also means acknowledging the good, the stuff that’s working. There’s no delusion required. The second step is to look only at those good things and appreciate them, no matter how basic they may be: your health, your apartment, your fridge, your couch, your high-speed Internet, or your Disney Plus subscription. If you live with pets, do what I do with my pup Bella and go cuddle up to them (if you have fish or reptiles, just…well, do whatever lights them up). Let the good feelings just naturally come as an organic consequence of appreciation of the good in your life. Don’t try to force a feeling. However, you are during this exercise works.
#3. Acknowledge What You “Get To Do
Artist Dave Choe said in a recent Instagram post that one major mental reversal he’s done that’s helped his enthusiasm is to see his work as something that he “gets” to do, rather than what he “has” to do. The work is still the work, but the shift in context is decisive. Now, having acknowledged where you are and feeling gratitude for what you already have, take the time to appreciate what you get to do. You get to run your business, make your products or provide your services. Even if your business isn’t profitable yet and you’re working a job in the meantime, you still get to do that. That doesn’t mean that the work is any less hard, but it is a more empowering mental reframe to help you do the hard things. You can be grateful for that, too.
Ultimately, effervescence is about feeling the life force through your body and soul. Just like bathing or brushing your teeth, gratitude is a routine that you want to keep up regularly. And if you fall out of the habit, that’s cool. It happens. Don’t berate yourself for it, just gently get back on when you’re able. Try it out in 2022. See how it works for you.
- Dundas-based author, ghostwriter, and Millennial mindset coach