Yes, Thanksgiving was 11 days ago, and, no, I’m not talking about the feasting. I’m talking about gratitude. How often are we focusing on our blessings instead of our problems? If we stand back and look at our lives and take everything into consideration, I think we would be able to see that there are more positives than negatives. Most likely if you are reading this post, you A. Are alive, B. Know how to read, C. Have access to electricity and technology. B and C are bonuses, but if we take A away, what do our problems mean then? Think about that one when things start to get rough. It definitely puts things in perspective for me.
I am in the business of listening to people’s complaints (no complaints here, it’s part of my job and I love what I do). I have noticed that people who tend to focus on their problems, whether they be medical or personal, often create more problems, usually by making themselves more upset. There are also people on the other end of the spectrum who make the best of things and deal with the cards they are dealt. It amazes me how some people, often in the worst of financial or medical circumstances, are still so grateful for their blessings that exist aside from their problems. The only difference between these 2 groups of people is their attitude. I think gratitude is an extremely helpful tool to help with our well-being. Focusing on the negatives creates undue pressure that can really take a toll on our health, to the point where I have even sent people to the hospital because of severely high blood pressure that was related to stress.
We develop the habit of focusing on our problems and dwell on them which is why they are at the forefront of our minds. We lose sight of the fact that at every moment we are fortunate to be alive and have so many blessings that we often take for granted. I am not advocating ignoring negative feelings or thoughts because what we resist, definitely persists. Nevertheless, our problems from the past and our worries about the future have no bearing on what is going on right NOW in this moment. We often waste the present moment with negative emotions, when we could instead be appreciating it. We spend so much time dwelling on the past that we get depressed, and worrying about the future that we become anxious, that life just passes us by. We look back and regret that we didn’t enjoy the present moment which was all that we had at that time, and repeat the cycle. Believe it or not, it’s just a habit and we can change habits. It takes practice. I’m constantly finding myself thinking about the past or the future, but the more I practice being grateful and enjoying the present moment, the more it becomes second nature, and the happier I am.
The next time you find yourself focused on the negatives in your life, try to think about what is also going right. Look around you. You most likely have a job, money to survive, a home, family, and friends. There are many in the world who are not as fortunate. You could die tomorrow, but you are breathing and living right NOW. Life is a gift to be appreciated at every moment, not just one day of the year.