Let a Tree Help When You Have a Bad Day

Light finds a way to shine through these cottonwood trees.

Light finds spaces between tree branches to shine through

If you’ve ever had one of those days when nothing goes right, it can be hard to feel good about anything.

One thing that might help is to go outside, sit near a tree and try this exercise. If it’s rainy, windy or cold, stay inside and look at a tree through a window.

Watch the tree for a little while. Notice how the light shines through some of the branches. As you sit looking at the tree, one of the things that didn’t go right today may pop up in your mind.

Find a place in the tree that lets light through it. Imagine the unhappy thing being framed by light shining through the tree’s branches, leaves or pine needles.

Keep noticing that light space as you think about something unpleasant that happened today. Let your thoughts blend with the light shining through the tree.

After a little while, you might notice that the thought begins to lighten, the emotions start to fade. The feelings may drift away in the brightness of the light.

When you feel the difficulty fade, look at the lighted space a few more seconds. Think about that difficult moment. Remember what happened. The memory may not seem as intense. You may feel less bothered by it. If so, that is a good thing.

Once you notice that the incident is not bothering you as much, find another lighted spot in the tree. Think about another thing that bothered you about what happened today. Do the same thing you did with the first unpleasant memory. See if this one lessens too.

If this exercise works for you, try this method any time a memory comes into your mind that makes you feel sad, angry, or disappointed in yourself or someone else. It could have happened today or a week, a month, a year ago or more. See if you can make the unpleasant parts of that memory fade into the light.

When you’re done, thank the tree for helping you. Go through the rest of your day with a lighter heart.

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