How to Find Gratitude When the World is Falling Apart
Many of us are being faced with the pressure of finding balance for ourselves as the world tries to reopen as abruptly as our lives came to a halt in early 2020. There’s a demand for us to jumpstart ourselves and return back to a “normal” that no longer exists for most of us.
The feelings this has brought up can be intense. It can be exceedingly difficult to find moments of joy and gratitude when we’re worried about a thousand different things at any given moment. It’s uncomfortable. And because it’s uncomfortable, it can be very tempting to try and avoid the discomfort.
So, we do things to try and escape all the feelings of fear, worry, and anxiety. We numb out with food, alcohol, television, etc.
We also have a tendency to lie to ourselves in times like these by saying or thinking things like, “I will be happy when…” or “this would get better if only…”- which will ultimately result in feeling defeated and unmotivated.
Much like it takes energy to begin a new habit, mindset work is the same type of practice. Having an attitude for gratitude is one way I’ve found to enjoy the experience of change, encourage and push myself, and choose discomfort over resentment.
Our values and belief systems determine how we filter and perceive information and stimulus that we get back from the world.
For instance, if your goal is to make more money and you believe money is the root of all evil, you’ll find yourself looped into an experience of constantly chasing, because your values are out of alignment with your goals.
The same can be said when it comes to recognizing the things we appreciate in life.
Whenever I find that I’m losing my attitude for gratitude, a quick way to give it a jump start is by setting an intention of gratitude right then and there in the moment.
I look for five things to be grateful for multiple times a day, or however often I find myself thinking of all the things I wish could be different or better or that I’m unhappy with.
I use that as an alarm to trigger my “flip it” mindset. I flip that thought on it’s head by instantly looking for five things to be grateful for. This helps to recalibrate my filter.
Mel Robbins speaks a lot about something called a RAS which stands for: Reticular Activating System. This serves as a filter (like you would use in a coffee machine), and it’s incredibly important as there are countless bits of information coming at us at any given moment.
We’re very selective on an unconscious level of what information we take in. That information becomes our experience. Our filter (or RAS) looks for certain information and filters it according to our values and beliefs.
If I wake up and I say, “This is going to be a terrible day,” My filter is immediately set to look for all the reasons why the day is going to be terrible, and trust me, you’ll always find supporting evidence.
Speaking your desires out loud will help move them into existence. Putting energy into the things you’re grateful for by consciously looking for these things, will allow you to begin reprogramming your unconscious filter.
Instead of finding evidence as to why things are going to go wrong, you will begin to look and find evidence for all the things you have to be grateful for, all the things that are going right.
Believing things are going to go right works the same way as when you get a new car- suddenly you see your car everywhere. That’s your Reticular Activating System.
Although it can be a struggle and very challenging, I will always encourage you to choose discomfort over resentment because your future self will thank you.
Pushing past the discomfort, reprogramming your script, and refocusing your energy will help you overcome negative thoughts and help improve your overall experience of Life, which will make all the hard work and discomfort worth it.