Practicing Gratitude

Life throws some pretty frustrating emotions our way sometimes: anger, sadness, stress, exasperation, hopelessness, boredom, irritation, hurt, spite… the list goes on. I find myself being pulled into these negative emotions more often than I would like. I receive a frustrating email at work, someone cancels plans I was excited for, I recount an old, painful memory. These are small things. I know that. And I also know that how I feel at any given time is decided by me. But sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes it feels like I have no control over what I am feeling.

I am the type of person who, when negative thoughts and emotions come upon me, wallows in her misery. I “love” continuing the feeling of being hurt or sad. When I am upset, I tell myself, “I am angry about X and I want to remain angry at X.” Obviously I am a very emotionally mature person. That in and of itself is something I need to work on. So, after twenty-odd years, I finally realized that I should not wallow. I should actually try to get out of my emotional funks, because before I would just “try.” Huge emphasis on those quotation marks. My first step, practice gratitude. Practice gratitude overwhelmingly, any time I think I need to, any time my emotions go anywhere below (what I like to call) neutral.

I have read in so many other blog posts and books that thinking of things I am grateful for is one of the best ways to lift your mood, see life in a new perspective, and essentially give your heart and your head a nice big sigh *sigh* of release.

When I walk the dog alone my mind tends to wander, and believe it or not sometimes those wandering thoughts are negative. I’m frustrated about a coworker, I’m frustrated with friends, I’m frustrated with the way I acted in a certain situation...there’s so much to chose from! Two months ago, those thoughts would have consumed the rest of my day, popping up when I really didn’t want them to. Now, I hit a quick pause button and think: What are three things I am grateful for at this moment? Yesterday I was grateful for Christmas, that the temperature was below 80, and that there’s a magical thing called Domino’s Stuffed Cheesy Bread. My three things are really that small. But they work wonders. I just thought of positive, sometimes silly things that I am thankful for. Things I am glad are in my life. Like I said: mood booster, new perspective, and a nice *sigh* sigh.

Try it out.


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