I’ve been settling in to my new apartment recently, and the change has had a profound effect on my state of mind.

Prior to this, I was living in a space that felt haunted by ghosts (not actual ghosts, but ghosts of softboys past). I don’t think I realized how effected I was by it until I left. But I’ve begun to develop some new routines and feel ready to focus on my therapy again.

One skill I’ve been working on in group therapy is accumulating positive emotions, which requires a conscious effort. I’ve had to work at being mindful of the pleasant events in my life because it’s so easy to focus on the negatives and forget why it is I want to be alive.

I force myself to notice nice things now. I make time for indulging in delights, like listening to music for hours or watching my pup play in the snow. I try to focus on how lucky I am to have the privilege to do stuff like that. It takes practice, but if you try to make it a habit, it can become part of your schedule.

Accumulating positive emotions also includes building mastery. It’s a simple idea, but when you do things that make you feel competent and effective, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness begin to fade. I’ve been working on feeling strong while being single (something I haven’t done since I was seventeen). That too has taken some practice, but being able to provide for myself brings me intense comfort. More comfort than any person has ever brought me.

I keep reminding myself that none of these things can happen and none of my coping skills will develop unless I am attending to my basic needs. Taking care of my body and mind feels like so much work sometimes, like a never-ending marathon of emotional and physical gymnastics. I’m exhausted by the amount of work it takes to feel physically well, rested and healthy, but I’m going to keep building my stamina and when I can finally rest, I know it’s going to feel great.