Our experience of life comes back to how grateful we are.
Are you actually present in your life, enough to enjoy it right now?
We can get so caught up in striving for things we want to achieve or move towards. Or we think we’ll be happy once we’ve got x, y or z.
If only a certain thing would happen we’d be ok. If only a certain thing hadn’t happened we’d be ok. We can waste years living with this kind of thinking.
But our thinking is a choice.
We will always have a tendency to focus on the negative and dwell there. We’re wired that way. Our minds are programmed for survival and so they’re always looking for danger, the potential pitfalls and things we should be worrying about.
Our minds are trying to protect us. But an unfortunate side effect is that we often end up falling down rabbit holes of negativity, and the deeper we go the worse it gets. One thought and worry leads to another. Soon we’ve whipped ourselves up into a frenzy, or down into a depression.
Things can look pretty bleak and often we don’t have the energy or motivation to pull ourselves back up. What’s the point? It can be easy to wonder when we’re in that state of mind.
So it’s really important that we nurture whatever is good in our minds. That we train our minds to focus on these things.
This isn’t all about positive thinking and plastering over any negative thoughts with positive ones, hoping to stamp them out. It isn’t about denying any emotions that we really need to feel.
But it can be really helpful to check whether there’s something you really need to feel or whether your mind is pulling you off in a direction that is less than helpful, and making you feel bad about yourself or a certain situation.
You can feel emotions as physical sensations in your body. You can let the energy move through you. And whilst it will feel painful at the time, you will normally feel a sense of relief afterwards.
Stinking thinking on the other hand will make you feel worse and worse as the day goes on. You’ll start feeling frustrated with yourself and the world.
So how do we break this cycle?
By slowing down, coming back to our bodies and seeing what we need to feel. Our minds can be very clever in keeping us busy and distracted when we really need to feel something that is under the surface.
By writing down everything that we’re thinking. Shine a light on the things that you’re telling yourself and that are causing you to suffer. Question whether they’re actually true or whether there’s another way to see things. Zoom out and look at the bigger picture.
And by coming back to gratitude. This can be one of the most powerful practices for pulling us out of a negative funk. Instead of denying or trying to simply turn the negative thoughts around, and once you’ve made sure you’ve felt anything that needs to be felt in your body, switch your attention to gratitude.
There is always something to be grateful for. The fact that we’re breathing. That we can read and write. That we have food on the table and people in our lives that we care about. That we have shelter, clothing, hot water, nature. People that love us close by or at the end of the phone. A whole beautiful world out there just waiting to be noticed, and a million and one other things.
Be grateful for the people and things in your life you can count on.
Be grateful for anything and everything you can think of.
Look for the beauty even when things don’t seem to be going your way. Look for it all the more then.
Try to remember all the things you do have. The things you may take for granted. The things that are right under your nose. Appreciate it all.
You can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time. So dwell in gratitude more often and notice your anxiety levels drop.
Slow down enough to see the blessings all around you, and to enjoy your life as it is right now.
Notice when your mind is pulling you off into unhelpful territory and bring the focus back to gratitude.
Make this a way of life. Your body and soul will thank you for it.
The more you can notice and be grateful for, the sweeter your life will seem 🙂