One of my best friends is still in shock. Her brother, diagnosed with Covid 19, is now in ICU on a ventilator. Today while on the phone with her, she said, “We take for granted that we can breathe.”
Those 8 words are powerful. Think about it- “We take for granted that we can breathe.”
Each day we wake up to a new sunrise. Our hearts are beating, our lungs are working, and we are able to walk to the kitchen to get coffee. They are gifts most of us never even think about or consider acknowledging.
As we all know, life has been very difficult these last 6 months for many reasons. We have watched as tens of thousands of people have lost their lives. Some of us have lost jobs. We can’t hug our friends and family. Our sense of reality has literally been turned upside down. The combination can begin to feel like a huge weight sitting on your chest and your well-being.
I feel it too. Even talking to my friend about her brother brings up grief that I am still working through since losing my Dad this past spring after a long battle in the hospital. It makes me feel like life is not fair.
With all that said, it is easy to fall down the trap of focusing on all that feels bad for us. What if we were able to find a way to focus on what’s good? I know, it is much more difficult. It seems we’re never taught how to look at the bright side. Have you noticed how it can be a struggle just to stop and be grateful for what IS working?
Psycho-spiritual teacher Mateo Sol explains that one of the biggest reasons we are so indifferent to being grateful is because “we’re such a fast-paced and stressed-out society. Slowing down and appreciating what is already good about our lives seems to be fanciful, unrealistic, and sometimes just plain hysterical.” But he goes on to say, “Gratitude helps us to realize that everything is fine just the way it is, helping us to stop fighting, striving, and chasing happiness— which only makes us more deeply unhappy.”
Gratitude, like kindness, is a practice. We have to cultivate it and implement it every day to our best ability. Here are some ways I practice.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Writing out what you are grateful for in a journal keeps the list going. In time, you can use the journal as a place to visit to remind you of the good things in your life.
Make a Vow To Be Grateful
Make a promise to yourself that you will make time to be grateful. Either say it or write it in your journal. It’s a great way to get started. In the beginning, you can simply commit to doing it once a day or once a week.
Be Aware Of What You Say To Yourself
Start to be aware of what you say to yourself daily. Are you complaining that you don’t have enough money or the right relationship? Maybe you’ve gained some weight.? How do you treat yourself? Can you switch that attitude and find something positive in the moment? For example, “Yes, I may have gained five pounds but I am strong enough to get focused and lose the weight starting now.”
Find Places To Practice Gratitude
When I realize it’s time to get grateful, I typically find myself thinking of the list while in the shower. No one can bother you in the shower. It is a totally uninterrupted time and the perfect place to focus on you. Find your own place where no one can disturb you. It takes less than 2 minutes to seriously think about what is working in your life. Try it. You might like it.