I’ve been thinking about the old proverb “April showers bring May flowers” lately because some days it still feels like winter! We are in that weird transitional time in the season when we could experience warm spring weather and cold, snowy and rainy weather in the same week, sometimes even in the same day.
Although I genuinely love experiencing the changes in seasons throughout the year, I cannot wait for spring warmth to stick around longer than a few days in a row. With that said, I will take April showers over April snow and this month we seem to have gotten our fair share of both.
There is value to that familiar adage, “April showers bring May flowers”. It gives us hope that our troubling moments will be followed
by happiness and relief. It gives us encouragement to hold on and be patient for good things to come even if our present circumstances are somber. This could be really helpful when we are in the thick of a rainstorm, when it is especially difficult to think far enough ahead to sunshine and flowers.
So what can you do in that rainstorm?
Look forward to something
One study found that planning for and anticipating a vacation could bring more happiness than the trip itself (Nawijn, 2010). Researchers found that vacationers experienced a boost in happiness through the planning stages of the trip because they were looking forward to good times ahead. What does this have to do with the aforementioned proverb? Well, you could anticipate and plan for the “May flowers” as if it is the trip you are planning for! Roses, peonies, and sunflowers could translate into taking a break from school/work to enjoy the weekend, earning a promotion at work, or completing final exams at school after the long hours you’ve sacrificed.
Learn to dance in the rain
Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that requires identifying and disputing irrational and unhelpful thoughts. Reframing is the practice of finding positive alternatives to cognitive distortions. Taking a mindfulness approach could help you see a different perspective. For example, mindfulness could help you approach pain as a friend you could work with or learn something from rather than an enemy you have to run away from. It takes practice because it is not easy. A rainstorm is unpleasant when you focus on the inconvenience it poses on your life. But imagine the fun and spontaneous memories you would gain if you took advantage of the opportunity to dance in the rain.
Recognize what you can control and let go of what you cannot control
Among many other things, you cannot control the weather and you may not have control over everything that life throws your way. Rather than focus your energy, attention, and efforts on the weather, focus on some things you can control: your words, behavior, actions/reactions, and intentions.
Nawijn, J., Marchand, M. A., Veenhoven, R., & Vingerhoest, A. J. (2010). Vacationers happier, but most not happier after a holiday. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 5(1), 35-47.