It’s easy to get caught up in all the bad that’s going on. As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s easy to get addicted to the drama. But more than anything, it’s important to keep sight of all the wonderful things that are going on in your life as well. Sometimes, during my day, I’m so stressed out that my view of the world turns sour. Like a bitter, tart candy or a sour grape my world warps and I just want to spit it out for a moment. I become overwhelmed by bills, loneliness, relationships, healing, worry about what the future holds, responsibilities, etc. And the effect can be crippling. It makes me want to freeze, stop, give up, tune out.
That’s when I have to remind myself to put the sweetness back into life. I call it my “thankfulness list,” and it’s just like it sounds. One day, during a particularly stressful time at work, I went outside on my lunch break and took a little walk. My outlook had been so bleak recently that I felt like it was affecting my friendships, my ability to pay attention, and my family relationships. I was driving people away through bitterness. I knew something had to change. So I sat down, and as hard as it was to get past everything that was upsetting and annoying me, I made myself write down a list of the things that I was thankful for.
It was slow-going at first, I couldn’t think of anything. But as I sat outside the words started to flow..the sunshine? I guessed, thinking how stupid that probably sounded. Well, I do have a longer lunch today…I wrote that down. It started with the little things – the things that were immediately in my vision – the things that were so easy to overlook. Like the fact that we got rain this week, after so long of a drought. As I continued to write down things I was thankful for though, they quickly started to flow out of me, one after another. My friends. My family. My pets. My health. My knee being healed at last. Being able to ride my bike. Not having any debt. On and on the list grew until I realized my lunch break was over and it was time to return to work. I had well over 20 items noted down.
Just seeing that, seeing that I had so many reasons to be happy about life, to be thankful about where I’m at, made me smile. It made the rest of the day easier, because I kept thinking about that list. I know it sounds cheesy, but you should try it sometime. When you feel particularly low, or hopeless. If you ever struggle with suicidal thoughts, or loneliness, or injury, or pain, remember everything amazing that’s going on in your life as well. Even if it’s something small, like the fact that your breakfast tasted really good this morning, or that you let yourself have that helping of ice cream without feeling guilty. Or if it’s something as large as that you finally conquered the summit of Everest.
Whatever it is, express gratitude for this amazing life that you lead! This amazing body that keeps you going no matter what! This amazing day full of love of possibility of the dedication of spirit to see it through. Give yourself a little time to be thankful for the fact that you made it here. You. You wonderful, incredible jumble of muscle, nerve, bone, body, mind, and heart.
And for those of you who want to read a little more, check out this article on yahoo! about gratitude: http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/true-secret-to-success–it-s-not-what-you-think-.html