If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.
~Frank A. Clark
“Gratitude, she claimed, was the answer. Wallowing only makes things worse. “Instead, start each day with five things you’re grateful for. We can e-mail our lists every morning to encourage each other.”
Last year, November, when I was struggling with the new direction my life was taking, too exhausted, too depressed to get through the days, this landed in my inbox in the morning and this quote and this paragraph caught my eye. Everything that I feared, everything that depressed me, were things in the future. Things which may or may not take place. Things over which I did not have any control.
So a few weeks of feeling like this, I was tired of being depressed and negative. Life changing events shake us to our core. Yes, mourning and grieving are inevitable for what could have been but would never be. But life doesn’t end, it goes on and we have to find a way to go on with it.
So I took the advice and started a gratitude list with my girl friends. Every day we emailed each other 3 things that we were grateful for that day. Here’s the things that we were grateful for:
“Having friends who will be there for you – through the good, bad and ugly”
“Having fantastic colleagues who are incredibly understanding, supportive & wise”
“Having a job that I genuinely love doing”
“Learning something new everyday – at work, at university”
“Being able to make a difference in the lives of people we see everyday and those we don’t even know”
“Not getting lost in a new city and making some local friends”
The rest went more or less along the same line….. looking back what does this list say to me?
Human connection is by far the greatest need that we have. Beyond the need for the basic – food, clothing, shelter – all the other levels of Maslow’s theory are based on factors affected by people, other than you.
Did the gratitude list help me? It took a few days but eventually once again I started looking more at the positive incidences in my every day life. You attract whatever it is that you are looking for. Since I looked out more for the good things in life, I noticed them more. Because I saw them more and felt an even greater sense of gratitude for them, my satisfaction with my life was once again restored.
Nothing in life is as it seems – because everything depends on how you see it 🙂
The grass is always greener on the other side,
but that’s because they use more manure.
If you are jealous of someone else’s success, if you are constantly comparing yourself to others and coming up short. Then the time has come for you to have an honest conversation with yourself about whatever it is that you are jealous of in others. Take an inventory of your life and decide on what needs to change for you to be happy.
Just remember ….
You can’t change others, you can only change yourself.
When you can’t change a situation, you can change your attitude towards that situation.
Whatever you can’t change – you have the power to decide on whether to accept or discard.
Whatever you can’t accept, discard it, if that means having to let go of people, situations, dreams, jobs, clothes in your closets… just do it.
You only get one life to live, why waste it in unhappiness of jealousy?
Let’s face it, it’s been about 8/9 weeks since your new year resolution to work on a healthier, skinnier you… and now your motivation is waning. Gym is boring. Food is interesting. You are cheating… with yourself.
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama
Fact is most of us will not realize the value of good health until our body or mind or both quits on us.
In our hyper-active, hyper-connected modern life, we are so busy being busy that finding the time and energy to exercise, eat right, engage in activities that reduce the inevitable stress that arises from such a hectic lifestyle should be a top priority in ALL of our lives.
So what can you do when you don’t have time to take care of yourself? Here’s a short list which you can customize and adapt to your own routine. Six non-sweat easy tips and One that encourages you to sweat it out 😉
First thing in the morning when you open your eyes, in the space before thoughts invade and the to-do list in your head starts ticking. Stop. Breathe. Practice gratitude.
Be grateful that you are alive.
In your bed and not a hospital.
Be grateful for being able to breathe without assistance.
Some days I am so depressed that I find it difficult to find things to be grateful for. Yet I know that I am incredibly blessed. So on my bleak days, I decide to be grateful for little things, like breathing, reading, books, the fact that I can walk without pain or that I still have all of my teeth. Whatever floats your boat… just find something to be grateful for and sincerely concentrate on that blessing.
Take a few minutes and meditate. There are many ways to meditate. You can chant, concentrate, visualize, play the singing bowl, flute or a guided meditation CD … whichever method works for you. Again, if you are not the kind that can sit cross-legged on the floor with your hands on your knees, don’t. If walking on the grass in the backyard works for you, do.
Meditating is about centering yourself. Connecting to the here and now. To be present. It’s the deepest part of you that remains unruffled through the storm of life. It stores your energy, your resilience. Connect and appreciate yourself.
You can create a daily routine to help get yourself into the mindset to meditate or you can take a few minutes through out the day to practice it as you need it. It’s like taking a smoke-break for smokers. Instead of getting off your desk to go smoke, you take a few minutes to breathe and center your mind.
When you cheat on your diet or worry obsessively or simply don’t get around to doing any of the above… don’t worry .. there’s still something that you can do to keep yourself healthy. You can sleep. Not the tossing & turning kind of sleep but a real good night’s sleep. Empty your bedroom of all electronic devices, specifically the TV and make it the kind of haven that you need to truly relax in. If darkness is your thing, install double blinds or get a light blinder for yourself. If you are a light sleeper, put on some white noise to reduce outside interruptions to your sleep cycle. Whatever else you might cheat on… don’t cheat yourself from getting a good night’s rest. Make it routine & a habit to go to bed at a fixed time. Cheating throughout the week and making up for it by sleeping in on the weekend, doesn’t work.
No matter how blue I am .. I usually feel a whole lot better after I have managed to get a good snooze. It has helped me hang on to my sanity on days I want to blow my top 😉
Hug the person next to you. Hug before you leave home. Hug when you get home. Hug your colleagues if you share that kind of relationship. Hug your friends when you see them. A 20 second hug releases oxytocin, nature’s anti-depressant and anti-anxiety hormone.
Find something to laugh about throughout the day. If not a belly laughter at least smile through out the day, even when you don’t feel like it. Try it. You can’t smile and hold on to anger, depression, anxiety, stress. It’s just not possible. The physical effect of putting on a smile or laughing, transforms negative emotions & releases happy hormones. So go on .. laugh at yourself, or if all fails, laugh at all the cute animal videos on YouTube 😉
Write it out:
Put aside 20 minutes at the end of the day, sit down comfortably and write. Don’t think about what to write or how to write. Just write. Whatever is on your mind. Forget about spellings and grammatical errors. Suspend that grammar nazi in you. Just write.
Write about whatever is running through your head. Whatever is clouding your emotions. Whatever is nagging at the back of your mind that keeps you up tossing and turning. Take up a pen and paper and write it out.
Get moving and feel that blood flowing through your veins. If working out at the gym is not your thing, try a different activity … yoga, competitive sport, dancing, start walking to the store, running to your chores, parking farthest at the parking lot…. if nothing else, walk back home from work, at least part of the way. Again, whatever floats your boat, as long as you are being active for at least 20 minutes every day, the kind of active that raises your heart beat.
So time to get on that band-wagon of new year resolution to achieve a healthier you. If you are tired of sweating it out without seeing some results that motivate you to continue… I suggest practicing the first six tips vigorously 😉