As I write, the garden is blanketed with snow, but Spring is almost on us and brings the prospect of lighter, longer days and warmer weather. At the same time we look ahead to the hope of more social interaction and an eventual return to something more like ‘normal life’.

But let’s not forget that the best way to cope with the stress we may be feeling now is to find solace in the present. “Don’t wish your life away” is an old adage and a valid one. In our current circumstances we can be forgiven for thinking that life has been pretty much suspended and we are desperate to simply get through these times and move forward.

Many mistakes have clearly been made during this pandemic and bad things have happened. Bereavement and misery, ill health and loneliness are widespread in our country and the suffering is continuing.

But throughout this, the good in people has shone through. And strangely, the pandemic has had its benefits; many of us have learned new skills, discovered the joys of nature and bonded closely with those in our households.  The treadmill of commuting has been stopped for the masses of those in cities, and large numbers of people have gained insights into the way they have lived for years – with considerable numbers of them deciding to make changes.

So let’s not wish away today, however dark, dismal and lacking in joy it may seem, because we are hoping for something better tomorrow.

I often ask those of my clients who suffer from anxiety or low mood to find three things each day to value. “But what if there isn’t anything?” they ask.

Of course, in reality there always is, but perception is everything. We forget what we have, because we are focussing on what we haven’t.

To the person in chronic pain, a pain-free hour is a blessing. To someone who is homeless, a clean room with a bed is something to be grateful for. The difference between happiness and misery can be as simple as kind words from those you love rather than constant criticism.

And life itself is something to cherish, at a time when so many people have lost theirs.

So greet each day as the gift that it is, and look for the opportunities it brings to find some joy in life – and to give it to others. You won’t regret it.