Sidetracking The Blues Through Gratitude
Have you been waking up on “the wrong side of the bed” lately? Does it take every ounce of mental energy to pull yourself from bed in the morning? Is the depressing state of politics, environmental destruction and human oppression leaving you in despair?
You’re not alone.
Believe me! Even as a self-love advocate, some days the challenges and obstacles that can arise in life leave me feeling stuck in the mud. All it takes is a few unfortunate events or a brief skim of the headlines to send us sliding down the slippery slop of negative thinking.
Suddenly, you find yourself even deeper and thicker in that mud of hopeless, sad mental formations.
So what can we do when the going gets rough and our mental agitation and perspective is only adding fuel to our hard day fire?
Often we can catch the mind fixating on what we don’t have in our life. In these moments, turn this perspective on its head by focusing on the blessings in your life.
You may catch yourself feeling skeptical at this suggestion. But trust me, bringing our focus and attention back to all that we feel thankful for in life is shifting our place from “glass half empty” to “glass half full.”
Just the other day I found myself sinking in the rut of negative thinking, my thoughts rapidly piling on top of my already heavy load, the weight sinking me quicker and quicker in despair and dejection. I felt as if I was flailing in quick sand when I was struck with a moment of clarity.
I have SO much to be grateful for.
A soft smile danced across my face as I rattled off a few of my blessings…“I am grateful for a fantastic best friend that is always affirming my value in her life. I am grateful for my incredible partner who supports my growth and listens with patience and understanding. I am grateful for my able body and all it gifts me. I am grateful to be able to fuel my body with nutrient dense, vibrant foods that leave me feeling energized…”
Almost instantly I felt the brief moment of icy confusion melt away, my heart beaming and opening to the warmth of the love that surrounds me in life.
This is not to suggest that we use gratitude practices to neglect or deny the hardships of life. I encourage you to feel your emotions.
Feel them deeply.
Some wounds demand time to process and space for us to drop in and touch tenderly. Consider a gratitude practice the life-preserver that keeps you from sinking. It’s the anchor that holds you firmly in turbulent tides.
The world is a pretty intense place. We need not look far to bear witness to the pain and suffering of reality. But truth be told, there’s only so much in our control regarding the state of the world. We may not be able to transform it over night. Yet while we watch the merits of our hard work of spreading messages of love, compassion and justice for all beings unfold, we can use what tools we have to navigate a heavy hearted world with mental clarity and ease.
While the world can be a scary, ugly place, we need not lose sight of its immense beauty too.
Sometimes, we can lose sight of the simple tools that aid us in moments of confusion and fear. It’s when we remember them that we can witness their immense potential to provide refuge and relief in life’s most difficult times.
This is a reminder.
When the waters become murky from the mud of life’s obstacles, consider those you hold closest to you, those who believe in you and all the gifts and blessings of your life to surface you to calmer tides.
It can be as simple as giving thanks for the grocery store clerk that smiled genuinely at you, or as deep and profound as acknowledging the privileged gift of having access to clean water.
Around each corner you turn, there’s infinite ways to find gratitude.
What are you grateful for today?