21 Jul Attitude of Gratitude
One of my favorite meditations is a short guided one by Deepak Chopra. In the middle of this meditation he asks repeatedly in his soothing voice, “What am I grateful for?” I hear his hypnotic tone sometimes in my head when I need a good, positive reminder.
We are living in a time where the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the course of our regular daily activities and comfort. Many of us are not happy with the way things are happening, and the way we want to live is out of our control. We cannot do the things we are used to or go places we enjoy. We are powerless, scared and stuck. It is easy to see the negative in life and the world right now. But that can be a dangerous place. We need to fuel the good too!
Recent studies show the practice of gratitude not only makes us happy but changes our brain, boosts our immune system, improves relationships and productivity. It can be difficult to see any good during these times but if we stop and try, we can find it. A good practice is starting our day listing (at least) 3 things we are thankful for. Begin with the little things. Soon we may see our attitude change and the list grow. Some people may think it is silly to count your blessings, but it helps balance out the negative that threatens to shine brighter. Life may not be exactly the way we want. We may be falling on hard times. Loved ones may be distant or ill. In the midst of it all, there is something to be grateful for, something good.
There was a period that I was not content in life and I felt ungrateful because what I had was not what I wanted. Anytime I tried to be thankful for things I would negate it by saying, “but it’s not this” or “but it needs that.” That attitude took away gratitude, and I was left feeling bitter. Instead of trying to force myself to appreciate the thing I wasn’t happy with, I had to find something I was truly grateful for. Some days that meant being thankful for eyes to see and legs to walk, a pillow to rest my head on. If like me you are unable to list anything to be thankful for right away, you may have to go find it. This gratitude scavenger hunt may help get you started. Find:
- Something outside you enjoy looking at each day
- Something that is useful for you
- Something that is your favorite color
- Something you know someone else will enjoy
- Something that makes you happy
- Something that tastes good
- Something that smells amazing
- Something new
- Something that makes a beautiful sound
- Something unique to you
- Something that makes you laugh
- Something you enjoy at night
- Something you enjoy in the morning
- A favorite place to spend time alone
- Something you enjoy doing
- Something you love
AnnMarie Lehrer, APC, is an Associate Counselor at CHRIS Counseling Center DeKalb. To schedule an appointment, please reach out to intakeccdekalb@CHRIS180.org.