The Attitude of Gratitude
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from paying attention to what is happening around me it’s this: Life may not always be fair or work out exactly the way we want it to, but constantly complaining and being negative about it only makes things worse.
I’m not exactly a full-blown Pollyanna; sometimes a little venting is actually useful. No one should bottle everything up all the time or you can start feeling resentful. However, I’ve found that if I spend all my time complaining about this problem or that situation that sucks, it only creates more negativity. It’s almost like it breeds.
I noticed that often my days of higher peak anxiety were the days where all I had done was mope and fuss about things. I can’t help but wonder if the negativity creates an anxiety cycle. It makes sense. If you’re only talking about the negative, then that’s all that you see. If that’s all that you see, you’ll find yourself actively looking for it, and that dread then triggers anxiety.
Sometimes I found I couldn’t put my finger on any single thing that was causing my anxiety but if I thought back over the past few days, I’d see that I was helping to create it within myself. Who needs that?!
Conversely, I’ve noticed that an attitude of gratitude reduces anxiety. It’s not about being in denial. If something is truly wrong and not working for you then don’t sing its praises, work on changing in instead.
However, if you take the time to notice the many things for which you are grateful then you’ll likely be amazed by the shift in your perspective. Yes, if you’re sick, you’re still going to be sick if you’re counting your blessings, but the way you view your day will be drastically different.
I’ve started consciously being aware of things that make me feel grateful. I like finding three things about each day as I’m getting ready for bed (and I’m working on either obtaining or creating a gratitude journal so I can write them down) but it’s a great process to practice at any time of the day.
It doesn’t have to be huge and obvious. Of course I’m grateful for my family; I have a wonderful husband and two great kids, all of whom I love very much and I’m blessed to have them in my life. But it doesn’t have to be so momentous to be a source of gratitude.
I can be grateful for any number of smaller, even fleeting things. The first sip of a hot cup of tea. The new season of one of my favourite television shows (Criminal Minds, woohoo). Cracking open a new book. Catching the bus just before it leaves. Finding a quarter on the sidewalk. A drawing from one of my kids. A hug from George when I really need one. That amazing feeling when your head is on your pillow, your eyes are closed, and you can feel yourself drifting off.
I especially enjoy taking the time to be grateful for things that are given to us by nature that can be so easy to take for granted. Even though I’m not a morning person by any means (yawn), I love to catch a beautiful sunrise. Other things? Spying the moon when it’s still huge and orange and low in the sky. Seeing a meteor streak past. Gorgeous clear nights with a gazillion stars above. Sitting on the back deck on a warm, sunny day. Ocean waves.
There are so many things that we take for granted for which we can be grateful. No, none of these things take away the very real problems that I have, nor will they take away the very real problems that you have.
I can tell you though, I feel much better at the end of the day when I’ve taken just a small sliver of time to be grateful for the beautiful things in my life, big or small than I do when I spend the whole day grumbling, whining and complaining.
Here are three things I feel grateful for right now:
– A delicious steak dinner prepared by George
– A great day at work
– What looks like the last day of rain for awhile if the forecast is right
Can you share three things you’re grateful for with me? Leave me a comment below and let me know! You may be amazed how great it makes you feel! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter (click the link up top or below this post to sign up for free!) where I keep the positive talk going every Thursday!