Sunday, February 5, 2012

On Gratitude

There is absolutely nothing that can turn my attitude around like intentional gratitude. I have always been an optimistic person, and very grateful for the blessings in my life. Lately, I have found myself being sucked into the fatal quicksand of depression and bitterness.

Like real quicksand, this is not something I can fight directly. The only way out is to be peaceful, calm and serene. That's not easy when so much in my world seems to be falling to pieces.  This situation calls for the truly big weapon: Gratitude. Consciously feeling grateful for the things that are wonderful in my life is the big stick that can pull me out of the quicksand and get me back on dry ground so I can continue on my journey with more positive thoughts and feelings.

Recently at work I found myself feeling bad about things that were going on, so I opened a Word document and headed it with the words I am so very grateful for. Then I started making a list. I started with about four things, and then I went back to work. I left the document minimized on my desktop. Whenever I found my thoughts or feelings becoming negative, I restored the document and added a few more items to the list.  In only a few hours, I had filled up almost a whole column on the page. When I got home, I was so excited about the prospect of keeping a running list of all the things I'm grateful for that I downloaded a notepad to my phone, and decided to keep the list there, where I can see it and refer to it anytime, anywhere.

Counting my blessings is a way of focusing my feelings on positive things (which works better than trying to directly confront negative feelings). It also helps me be mindful of things going on around me. Too often I live so much in my imagination that I don't see the wonderful real things in my world.

I'm a writer, so I'm writing down my blessings. I think it's helping.

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