I get asked a lot by my clients “can you please help me with my negative thinking?” It seems that we live in a society where so much is on offer that we are never satisfied. Plus, our human brain loves fixing things. So we attach to all the things that are wrong in our lives instead of looking at what’s good. This is one of the reasons that cause us so much stress, anxiety and even depression.
Yet again, as our brains are such wonderful machineries we can train ourselves very quickly and very easily to snap out of it. One of the most beautiful and powerful ways to tackle pessimism is gratitude.
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting our blessings, being aware of simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that we receive. Gratitude shifts our focus from negativity and lack to the abundance that is already there.
I know at times life can be really tough and we might find it hard to be thankful for anything at that moment. I heard Oprah Winfrey once say: “If you think you don’t have anything go back to your breath.” What I know is that when you simply start with your breath and start being grateful for that, something shifts. It’s thinking about what you do have instead of what you don’t have. Focusing on one thing that you are grateful for raises a little bit of joy inside of yourself and increases the energy of gratitude. If you can get to one good feeling, that feeling helps build up another good feeling and another and so on. Get in the habit of saying: “I am grateful for my breath” and really mean it. “I am grateful that I could get out of bed this morning and stand on my own two legs. I am grateful that I can walk to the kitchen and reach the kettle to make myself a cup of tea.” I think of all the people I have seen when travelling through Cambodia a few years ago that lost their legs and arms during the civil war in the 70s. All the people without homes, not only in 3rd world countries but also right here. That usually snaps me out of negativity pretty fast.
Focusing on what you do have and what you can do will bring you much further than focusing on what you don’t have and what you can’t do. Being grateful for the 3 pounds you have in your purse will bring you 5 pounds sooner than obsessing about the 50 pounds you don’t have.
If you can just start getting used to focusing more on the good things in your life instead of the bad things you will soon realise how life transforming this can be.
I love this Albert Einstein quote!
There are a few things that you can do to actively cultivate an attitude of gratitude. As you get used to doing them they will become a habit and you’ll find yourself less and less caught up in negative thinking patterns.
Keep a daily gratitude journal
Write down a minimum of 5 -10 things that you are grateful for each day, no matter how big, ordinary or trivial they seem. Start each sentence with “I am grateful for / to / that… “
It’s the small things that count just as much as the big things
Start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, x amount of income, having a big house or getting married, before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.
As you are walking appreciate what you see, the trees, flowers, the birds, the sky. When you go shopping be grateful for having the means to buy what you need. Be grateful for the person that packed up your veg, the person on the till and the guy who filled up the empty shelves. As you get into it you will find more and more to be grateful for and it will become second nature for you to do this.
Start living each day with a grateful heart. When you sit down and think about it you will find many things to be grateful for. Share some of the things you are most grateful for in the comments below.
I truly hope this blog serves you in any way.