Are you a pessimist? An optimist? or a realist. Can how you think about, talk about and embrace the challenges of life determine your health, relationships and even wealth? There is a growing body of evidence that says yes! An attitude of gratitude can boost your immune system, help you heal faster, improve your relationships and even you bank account!
The stories we tell can be an indicator of our attitude. Think back to the last conversation you had with a friend. What did you talk about? Was it filled with gossip and complaints? Did you share problems and gripes? Did you repeat a previous conversation? Or did you share good news and focus on celebrating milestones?
As I write this it is the month of June. The weather has turned warm and sunny, flowers are in bloom and invitations come to the mail box announcing graduations and weddings, we celebrate and honor our nation’s heroes and fathers. Good things are happening. Are you celebrating? Is it easier to be optimistic when good things are happening?
I tend to waiver between being a pessimist and an optimist. I know that those times when I am being pessimist about life I spiral down and make myself an emotional wreck and not long after I can get physically ill. One of the tools that has help me to avoid that pessimist spiral is a gratitude journal. They other tools has been to focus on and share only good things with others in my life. Change your life with gratitide….
It has also helped that I have made a pack with significant people in my life and when I am on that negative bent they only let me vent for a short time and help to redirect me to a more upbeat focus.
If you are facing a life challenge here is how you can adapt one of my coping tools.
Gratitude journal: You can use a gratitude journal and each day write down what you are grateful for. This can be as simple as listing 5 things that you are grateful for. Think of 5 different things each day. Perhaps it is as simple as:
- the smell of fresh brewed coffee,
- the song of a cardinal singing,
- the sun shining in the window,
- the purr of my cat,
- the soft silky feel of the top I chose to wear.
You can get more expansive in your journal and write out why you are filled with gratitude; such as.
‘I woke this morning to the song of a cardinal loudly singing, at first I was irritated to be awoken so early and quickly realized this would give me an opportunity to journal leisurely with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I took time to allow the aroma of the coffee to wake me up as I stretched my arms up wards working out the stiffness in my body. I curled up on the couch with a soft blanket and was joined by the cat who curled up beside me and quieted my thoughts with a comforting purr. How nice to take time for myself and slow down and enjoy life, coffee and my cat. Life really is good.”
When I have conversations with another I share the good things in my life and try to get them to also share the upbeat and positive as well. Re-directing a conversation to the positive is a skill I have learned to cultivate.
One way you can do this is to collaborate with one or 2 people in you life who will help you with your outlook. Working with a life coach who specializes in identifying negative beliefs and limiting behaviors and helping me to eliminate them has been the other invaluable resource I have brought into my life. Sometime we really do need that unbiased 3rd party to bring us clarity and focus so we can shift.
As a life coach this is one of the benefits my clients report back to me, I am not afraid to ask the difficult question of why you are thinking a certain way and explore the origination of an ingrained way of thinking. More importantly is the shift of perceptions that I can help you facilitate that can bring you the insights you desire for living a life that is filled with gratitude.