Oh it’s a two-parter!! My post two weeks ago explained How to Feel Good No Matter What by transforming your thoughts into ones that are forward-driven and actionable. This one is a follow up to that (i.e. read that one first!), and it’s perfect timing because today is Canadian Thanksgiving!
It’s so easy to complain. So incredibly easy to just say “ugh this sucks” or “nothing is going right.” We all do it, some more often than others. Sometimes ordering a coffee and getting milk instead of cream is enough to throw off our entire day.
But what about when things are completely upside down, when we’re at the end of our rope – how can we feel good then? Before we can even try transforming our thoughts, what can we do to put everything into perspective?
Yup, you’ve guessed it. I’m talkin’ about gratitude.
Ever since I learned about them at the beginning of the year, I started keeping a gratitude journal. Just a few lines in my daily planner to write down three things I’m grateful for. It was easy to start out with the obvious things: food, home, my computer. “Skype” was on there a few times because it was the best way to keep in contact with Dan while he was away. Then I learned to start writing down things I used to take for granted.
Skin. Air. Water. Sight. Electricity. A loving family. Choices. Health. Waking up.
When I thought about things like this, it became easier to not let the little things get to me. Things that upset me had deeper roots showing me how things were actually awesome and nothing to be miffed about.
If Sweet Pea isn’t letting me get any work done because she just wants me to sit and play with her, I’m grateful that she’s even here to begin with.
If I’m feeling stressed that the lineups in the grocery store are too long, I’m grateful that I have the luxury of shopping for food and choosing what I eat.
If I’m angry that I’m stuck in traffic, I’m grateful that I have a vehicle, that I’m able to drive, and that I’m safe in my seat instead of what could possibly be at the other end of that traffic jam.
If you can dig deep into a problem, you can find that it really isn’t even a problem at all.
If you’re like most of my readers, you’re probably based out of North America. And if you’re not, then you’re probably reading this on a computer or smartphone, which means that things are probably going pretty well for you.
You’re doing alright. Seriously.
Last year I listened to an interview with Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water. They create wells in third-world countries where they don’t have quick access to clean and safe drinking water. Without the wells, these people have to get up early and travel for hours to a water source, fill up a container as big as they can carry, and then bring that water back home. Hours. To get water. We just flip a lever or turn a knob, and there it is. How would your life be turned inside out if getting water was your biggest problem?
In the interview, he said that there was one woman who was so happy that the water they were getting from the new well made her feel beautiful for the first time. This confused him and when he asked her how, she said it’s because she was able to use this new water to wash herself, whereas before, there wasn’t any water to spare for such a thing.
The wells are helping to reduce the 30,000 deaths per week that happen from unsafe and unhygienic water conditions, 90% of them being children under 5 years old.
Turn on the news and you won’t find a lack of stories where people are fighting for their lives, and aren’t sure if they’ll survive until tomorrow.
How are we complaining about our steak being too done, our hair being too flat, our kitchen being too small, the mall being too crowded or the recording conflict on our PVR when there is a massive chunk of the world with literal life or death problems?
So trust me when I say: you’ve got it good. We’ve got it SO good.
There’s the expression: “you don’t know how much you need something until you lose it.”
So don’t let it get that far. Take a moment every day and make note of three things that you’re grateful for. It will make you feel good no matter what, I promise you. If you do that long enough, your problems will start to disappear, because you’ll discover that they aren’t really problems to begin with.
And if you did lose “it,” whatever it is, then you already know how to fix that… with everything in Part 1 of course, wink wink. Don’t get caught in a scarcity mindset. Know that you have everything you need, and that the universe is rigged in your favour.
What 3 things are you grateful for today? Leave a comment!