It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude, it’s gratitude that brings us happiness…
We seem to be experiencing so much negativity in the world right now: racial injustice, crime, rioting, loss of life, scandals, a pandemic, and much more. The headlines are inundated with new or reoccurring stories of the unfortunate circumstances that are happening all around us. It is a plague of sad and depressing news that it tends to leave one upset, frustrated, scared, jaded, and anxious.
1. Is this how you want to live your life?
To be in constant fear and to only hear of the ugliness in the world. Think about what that does to your mind and body: emotions like these create a type of tension throughout your body. Feeling tense and stressed may be some of the physical results of being saturated with negative information all the time. Your organs can also be affected by the impact of unpleasant news. Blood vessels can become constricted causing harm to your heart. Just as your liver and kidneys are responsible for detoxifying the body, energetically they must also process negative emotional energy. This is all quite taxing on the physical and emotional body.
As these things are happening to certain parts of your body, you may also notice a shift in your own attitude: how you see the world, how you treat yourself, and others. More critical thinking, and negative self-talk start to emerge. As the world feels heavy, your body, mind, and psyche also feel overloaded. The tremendous pressure has an unhealthy residual effect on your entire system of being. How do you unload this heavy weight? What can turn your focus from this negative energy to something that is more positive and productive?
2. Feeling thankful for what we have
The key to lightening the load is to review the things that are making it difficult to move forward. As you're able, relinquish the things that you cannot control in your life. In the midst of a global pandemic, certainly an overwhelming and stressful circumstance to manage, remember that you only have control over your own reaction and behavior regarding this situation. Instead of stressing over the many that are suffering and experiencing hardship, pay attention to what you can do to remain safe and healthy. Sometimes it is the simplest of things that can make a world of difference: washing your hands frequently and wearing a mask. You can find much gratitude in the simple things in life.
When you have less to manage in your life, there is more room for appreciating the little things all around you. In the moments of stress, we lose our connection to the subtle impact of beauty. By turning off the negativity, you open up the possibility of receiving more positive healing energy. The larger uncontrollable aspects of life fade out of consciousness. You come to realize that these grander things don't always hold much value or importance. It is more often the smaller things that bring us joy and happiness.
3. Positivity for a change
To help you with noticing these smaller things, take inventory of what makes you happy. Think about the activities, hobbies, people, music, and foods that make you smile. Taking the time to read a book by your favorite author. Spend time baking a delicious batch of cookies. Turn on your favorite musical artist and dance around your apartment. Experience the joy that comes with these activities. Be grateful for these opportunities to allow for positive sensations to stream through your body and mind. These are healing feelings. They stave away the negativity, they are remedies for curing stress and anxiety.
Not only can you take part in these healing factions of your life, but document them, too. When you end your day, write down the things you are grateful for. Start a Gratitude Journal: make a list of 5 to 10 things that you're grateful for from that day. Laughing with a friend, seeing the sunrise, eating a sweet dessert, donating to your favorite cause, and the list goes on. These may seem like mundane actions, but they all generate a sense of love and appreciation for life as a whole.
Whenever you are feeling down or upset, turn to your written journal. Recall the things that bring you joy and satisfaction. Take a break from the negative messages on social media and do something that is more meaningful for yourself and others. The more practice you have at inviting positivity into your life, the more you'll notice all those small, subtle, beautiful things that surround you every day. You'll stop to pay attention to the bee buzzing around a fragrant flower, you'll smile at the birds singing outside your window in the morning, you'll slow down when you eat so you can take delight in each bite of your meal.
It's these things and many others that gravitate you toward the gracious parts of living. These are more important; these are the most valuable aspects of your life. It's not about having all the material things. It's more about being grateful for the things you have that are beyond the material: your health, your family, your friends. Acknowledge these riches in your life and share these gifts with others.
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