Has something ever happened to you that, in the grand scheme of things, was not of any importance, but you simply couldn’t get it out of your mind? Let’s say that one of your colleagues made a negative comment about your presentation. Maybe their intention was not to demean your work but simply to give an opinion about what was missing. Despite the fact that you know this, you feel hurt and distracted.
Most of us have had the experience of getting stuck in sadness or anxiety because of something small like this.
What can we do when we feel ourselves spiraling down like this? Focus on Gratitude.
Have you ever heard about the “Bridget Jones Effect”? Movies like the Princess Diaries and TV shows like The Vampire Diaries had one thing in common: the lead actress had a journal and every entry began with, “Dear Diary”. Their characters coped with the deaths of parents and other challenges by writing about them in a journal.
According to psychologists, writing down your feelings on paper decreases activity in the amygdala. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling the intensity of emotional reactions.
Keeping a journal is not the only way to practice gratitude. Let’s mention a few others:
1. Acknowledge moments when something good happens
2. When out and about, stop for a minute and admire the natural beauty around you
3. Celebrate accomplishments during your day, even small ones
4. Smile when you’re by yourself
5. Thank each and every person who helps you in your daily life
6. Make a habit of smiling at people you interact with on a daily basis
7. Send a kind message to your friends to let them know you’re thinking of them
8. Avoid choosing depressing shows or stories
9. Make a habit of staying in touch with loved ones
10. Don’t speak ill about others or gossip behind their back
11. Go for a walk early in the morning or during the day (make time)
12. Write a “Thank You” card to someone who helped you in the past, even if it’s been a long time
13. Focus on the positive side of a difficult situation, even if it seems strange
14. Keep a gratitude jar: whenever you come into a room, write on a piece of paper what you are grateful for and drop it in the jar
15. Gratitude prompts: this is a great way to appreciate the smaller things in life. Start the sentence with: I’m grateful for… and then add what you feel has had a profound impact on you. Post this prompt somewhere visible or write it in your journal in advance
16. Reach out to artists, leaders, teachers, or anyone who has inspired you to express what you felt
17. Check on your elderly neighbors once in a while and offer them help
18. Be thankful for the new things you learn every day
19. List your strengths and utilize them to overcome your weaknesses
20. Meditate at least twice a week
You can feel more gratitude in every moment by choosing acceptance, willingness, and peace. By focusing on gratitude and sharing love and kindness with others, you can become more resilient and positive yourself.