The small stuff isn’t important anymore
When you are thankful, it can change your perspective on things. It can sweep away all the petty aggravations that you spend so much time on, that “small stuff” that promotes ingratitude, impatience, intolerance, negativity, judgment of others, anger, and resentment. Thankfulness is the tool to diffuse all the negativity because it increases the feelings of wellbeing. Feelings of wellbeing will prompt you to be ‘aware’ and mindful beyond yourself, connecting you to others in empathy.
Over the past few years, there have been a few scientific studies documented about benefits that come to you when you practice being thankful. They are available to anyone who practices it, even when you are in the middle of adversity. What about old people facing death? What about those who have to deal with Cancer or some other dreaded disease? What about addictions? Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life and we all have to learn that we cannot take anything for granted. Each and every day is a beautiful breath of life – a gift. What we do with them is our choice that we have to make.
Some positive exercise for you to try:
- Increase your connections to other people
When you think positively, by being thankful, you allow your vision to broaden, helping you to form more positive and accurate connections with others; increasing your sense of oneness with the people around you. This helps to build meaning and purpose into your life – it’s what makes life worth living.
- Reinforce healthy habits
When you are positive and thankful, you are more emotionally positive. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a professor of psychology from the University of North Carolina says that when we change and grow and become better versions of ourselves, we develop the tools to help us to face Life as it comes our way.
- Do positivity exercises
It is not always easy just to focus on the positive and try and move your attention away from the negative stuff. But positivity exercises can help:
- No negative self-talk. Pay attention to ways you engage in negative talk: always blaming yourself, anticipating the worst, seeing things only as bad or good; no middle ground. Approach these in a more positive way. Repeat positive quotes to yourself and stick them on your fridge or computer where you can be reminded of them.
- Keep a gratitude journal. This is not for all, but keeping a journal where you write down all the things that make you feel thankful and appreciative helps you to focus and dwell on the good experiences, like an antidote to the negativity you want to free yourself from such as envy, jealousy, hostility, regret, worry, irritation, etc. Focus on your behaviors during the day and how you engage with other people. It’s a great idea to start a very healthy diet and include mood-boosting foods into your life, as well as starting an exercise routine. All these have positive effects on your life as well as your approach to life, let alone your stress levels.
- Don’t make social comparisons. Don’t focus on what other people have, and what you don’t have. Rather think about the things that have come your way that you can be so thankful about. What makes you so unique and valuable? Practice self-compassion on yourself, not saying stuff to yourself that you wouldn’t say to other people. Don’t forget to include fun and relaxation into your life. Make time for those things or people that make your smile or happy.
- Practice mindfulness, meditation, or prayer to bring balance into your life, to relieve stress and to clear your mind and give you a sense of peace.
- Helping others and volunteering to help others less fortunate than yourself where you can spread positivity is a great way to be appreciative and thankful. It’s because your brain will put you on a natural ‘high’ as described above. When you help animals or people in need, you get away from what is going on in your own head as you connect with others.
There are many that will argue that when you constantly have to strive to be thankful and positive when you don’t feel that way denies how you really feel, which can lead to you feeling kind of switched off from certain emotions. But the goal of practicing thankfulness should not be to deny or ignore the fact that sometimes you feel negative, let down, sad, annoyed, disappointed, and irrigated. One cannot be in control of all circumstances or how things turn out, but you can try your best to learn from them and to find something to be grateful for even when things aren’t perfect