Have you ever been so exhausted and drained by all of your problems that you stop feeling grateful for what you have now? Do you feel like you’re too busy solving problems or stressing about them to really care about enjoying your life? I have–I totally understand how overwhelming that is.
Not to worry though, I am here to help guide you to be more mindful and help you get to the path of gratefulness.
Tip 1: Pause, take a minute.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Look around you and remember what matters most to you. Take your problems out of the picture for a second. What else do you see that’s important to you? Your health? Your family? Having a home?
I started this week really crappy because I was having problems with my car and so many other little problems seem to pile up on top of that. I had to borrow my dad’s car so I’m frustrated because I’m not used to it. I couldn’t get the car’s bluetooth to work so I couldn’t play my usual audiobook or music app. Spoiled by the comforts of what’s familiar and not dealing with commercials, I was really annoyed that I had to listen to the radio instead.
Listening to the radio is nothing new though. When I used to drive an older car, which didn’t have bluetooth, I always tuned in to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show. I guess that’s why when the car defaulted to radio, it was automatically tuned in to 102.1 (Philly).
Usually, it’s a pretty funny show but that day they were talking about something serious. They played Alan Watts’ “Why your life is not a journey.” (96:13)
Elvis: What are we waiting for; what is this “thing” we’re working towards? (99:40)
It made me realize I was obsessing over the wrong things. I paused an asked myself what am I working towards? I answered: I am working towards enriching my career and ultimately becoming financially independent so I can have free time to help others. Right now getting to work is my priority so I can meet my goals. I then realized that regardless of everything that’s going on, I am still getting to work. That’s all that matters at the moment.
Tip 2: Reflect on all your wishes that came true
When will this cycle of looking-for-the-next-big-thing end? There’s no time to enjoy what you actually accomplished. Remember when you used to only dream about what you have now?
That really made me realize, I’ve been so consumed by all of these worries that I forgot to take a look around to see where I am or what I have now.
It sounds so selfish that I was so worried about everything that’s not going my way, problems piled up on me, life is against me, etc. I forgot to be thankful for the other things in my life.
I should be grateful for having a car to drive and of course, a dad so generous. He was willing to give up his own freedom to drive himself to work and instead, catch a ride from my mom, for me.
Tip 3: Realign yourself and reassess your goals.
What do you wish to happen that will make everything better? How will you make that happen? Can you do that? Why/Why not?
I should be thankful that I even have a car at all and that it’s being fixed. I should be grateful to my parents for sacrificing their commute to work for me by lending me their car. I should be happy that I have a job to drive to and can pay for my bills. I should be thankful to have a working sense of hearing and I get to listen to anything. As soon as I started down this path, I realized how lucky I am to be living the life I have. Suddenly, I feel lighter and it put me in a good mood.
Tip 2: Let go.
Let go of all the negativity (even for just a minute–give yourself a break). Stop cluttering your mind with worries. Go through each of them and see if it’s an actionable worry or solely a form of fear. Let go of the latter and start an action plan for the real problems. Declutter your mind. Focus on what adds value to your life.
Gratitude is such a hard thing to do when you refuse to let go of your worries. My sister has been calling me to ask how I am. After listening patiently to my long rant about how everything is going wrong in my life, she simply asks me:
“What are you thankful for today?”
I can’t help but stop and force myself to really think.
Tip 5: Be grateful
Write down at least 3 things to be grateful for every day. It’s a good number to start–not too few, not too many.
It sounds silly but, trust me when I say writing it down will make all the difference. Just realizing it in the end and seeing what you wrote. It’s incredible. I like looking back on what I wrote because it brings good vibes and it reminds me of what was important to me that day.