Did you look at the title of this blog & think that she is just jumping on the ‘thought of the day’ bandwagon? Did you think, even for a minute ‘Great, someone else spouting more feel good mumbo jumbo?’ Well, that is the way I felt for a long time.
Where your head, heart & thoughts are easily determines what you thought when you saw the title of this blog.
Basically, yes this is another one of ‘those’ blogs. Why do we need another one? I don’t know that the proverbial ‘we’ need another post on gratitude, but I do know, that I needed to write one.
Here are a few questions you might ask yourself,
‘On any given morning, do I wake up feeling rushed and annoyed?’
‘When my feet hit the floor, what emotions rush to the forefront?’
‘Do I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, annoyed more often than I feel grateful?’
See where this is going? I know, I know…..buckle in for yet another post on the benefits of gratitude.
I am not sure my view on gratitude is the same as everyone else. Partially because I like being different & partially because I am the queen of the baby step movement instead of the full speed ahead group that often makes me tense & anxious.
I used to lump gratitude & happiness together into one big unattainable package. ‘Happy’ that elusive never truly sustainable place that I have glimpsed but never quite figured out how to stay at.
I will speak for myself & admit that by now (chronologically speaking) I am a pro at being frustrated, annoyed, feeling ‘put upon’& basically a general unhappy. With all of the ‘outside’ forces, social media, news cycles, advertising agencies air brushing the humanity out of our world, it is a wonder that we aren’t always in some state of cranky.
Gratitude can feel foreign, uncomfortable & fake at the start. I think of gratitude as a subtle shifting of focus. The road to gratitude is starting small & not giving up.
We live in a world of significantly over scheduled lives. Your own, your kids or partner, there seems to always be too much to do. We often forget that we have the power to slow down or say no. We get caught up in how we are going to somehow accomplish the impossible, without taking the time to breathe & pause.
Then there are the waves, the period of time when if feels like your entire world is crashing down around you. In those moments, the last thing you are probably thinking about is being grateful.
You know where I’m going right? It is the moment that you need to find something to be grateful for the most.
Do NOT try to be grateful for the thing that is causing you the most anxiety right now. Do NOT ‘fake’ your way through it. Leave your huge, overwhelming frustration and anxiety for a moment & find something that you are really & truly grateful for.
- Your children, pets, family, friends
- your health
- that you woke up this morning
- that you have a place to sleepsome
- the weather (I get it, sometimes you need to use the weather, do it, it counts)
Generally I suggest you work on the really general things first. If you are the ‘give me a bigger challenge’ kind of person, or you want to skip a few chapters, find something to be grateful for in the things making you crazy. What is the good you can take out of the bad?
- I hate my job — I have a job
- My commute is unbearable — I have a way to get to work, I have a job
- My kids don’t listen to me – what do they do well? What is great about them?
Honestly, you really can try to find even something small to be grateful for. If you are reading this, I can find you a few things:
- You have some method of getting on the internet
- You woke up this morning
- You can read
- You are alive
Seriously, use the weather if you need to, use what you do have, just find something to grab on to.
Don’t try too hard, don’t compare your grateful to anyone else’s. Don’t feel as though your things aren’t good enough, or epic enough. Most of us don’t cure cancer, we are not a part of the international peace talks & we are not highly specialized trauma surgeons. Stop thinking it has to be super significant. Set yourself up for success, you know you have heard this before ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. It is true & here is the secret about gratitude, you win as long as you don’t give up.
Start small, be grateful for anything you can find. Start repeating it, even if you start with 1 thing. Most people can truly find at LEAST 3-5 things in their lives, regardless of how out of control their lives feel to be grateful for.
If you do this, if you write it down, if you repeat it in your mind, you will see a subtle shift begin to occur. It will NOT make the cranky disappear. It will not make someone treat you fairly, or make all of the traffic disappear on your commute. Your boss will not suddenly have an epiphany that you should be promoted & given a raise. What it will do is help you create a new way of thinking. It will help you spend less time dwelling on the negative and help you see all of the good stuff in your life.
That my friends will have an amazing impact on your thought process and help you shift every so slightly, but just enough to bring you over to the gratitude cult 🙂