Gratitude: One Way to Create it!
On this day before Thanksgiving we might find it easier (or maybe even harder) to find something we are grateful for. It might add more stress to our lives if things are not as they "should" be right now. But the thing is, will things ever be just as you want? Can you be grateful in this very moment for what you have? Maybe for what you don't have to deal with?
Have you ever looked back at old pictures from last year (or many years ago) and thought, "wow, she/he had no idea how easy they had it then!" or "wow, I really looked quite amazing even though I remember that day hating everything about my life and how I looked"? A shameful feeling comes over you because of how petty those thoughts were and how unhelpful they were to the enjoyment of your life then.
Well, it's taken a bit for me to see how harmful that thinking can be and I've learned one way to shift my perspective to create an attitude of gratitude in each moment and that is through...
...optimism bias. Without changing your reality you can change the way you see the world. Just like everything in life, it takes work to make this kind of thinking a habit so here are some hacks to help you build that muscle.
Alter it by:
1. Doing the things you love! Paint, write, read, walk, yoga, listen to music, and speak to your friend(s). Think about the things that make you excited and do them. Work to stay in a space that can inspire even during the tougher weeks, months, years.
2. Celebrate at every chance! The other day, upon arriving back to DC from Las Vegas, I sent a love note via Facebook messenger to my dear friends - even though I was not in the mood to. I pushed past that feeling and the response was so overwhelming that I pulled myself from my own spiral and caught up with people I hadn't spoken to in a long while about meaningful things!
3. Pay attention to negative self-talk! That is a slippery slope for me as well! Your own negative self-talk is more harmful than whatever someone else can say to you. It's incredible how hard we are on ourselves. Have you seen BoJack Horseman? I love this show right now and it's on Netflix. There is a great scene that most can resonate with the message behind it (maybe not the entire scene!) but the level of self-loathing represented here shows how we can all be this loud in our heads with negative self-talk. Work to speak to yourself like you would your dearest friend. Loving-kindness.