On Wednesday my state got a rip roaring storm that leveled a neighboring town’s high school, several homes, a few businesses and cost at least one person their life. To be honest, I’m still trying to process it. I’ve lived in the worst area for tornadic activity for the past 17 years and it still gets me every time I see the destruction that Mother Nature is capable of.
I woke up the next morning to birds chirping and a multi-colored sunrise. My drive in to work was calm and quiet; a startling difference from the night before. It could have been another story. I could be sifting through debris and praying that my dog was okay, instead of waking up to his sweet, but stinky kisses.
I’ve been struggling to stay positive over the past couple of months. I applied for a couple of jobs that I’d hoped would put me in a better financial position so I could work fewer hours and give school more of my time, but they didn’t pan out. I fought off a respiratory illness that showed up in time to prevent me from seeing a couple of old friends who were in town, and I rarely have time to hang with my people as it is. I’m about to hit the time of year when I have a lot of annual expenses that leave me cash strapped until after my birthday, and don’t get me started on the birthday. (It’s a big one.) Lots of little things adding up to a lot of negativity and smart-assed self-talk, that has only been perpetuating the problem.
That is, until I was forced to go back to basics and really get to the heart of the matter. Gratitude. I have literally thousands of things to be grateful for, starting with air in my lungs, a healthy, functioning body and a still in-tact roof over my head. And not in the way that I have been “grateful” of late, where I grumble my way through my list in the morning when my alarm goes off. I’m grateful in a real and very serious way, because if I’d chosen a place to live that was just 15 minutes away from my current address, I might not have a job, a home or a life to feel grateful for right now.
It’s sad that it takes wake-up calls of this magnitude to snap us out of it sometimes, but that’s exactly what it took for me to stop the “woe is me” and realize, “Whoa! It’s me.” I have just as much to do with turning it around as I did putting myself there. It totally changes your position of power from someone who passively lets things happen to someone who actively does something to affect their own outcomes, and all in a matter of seconds.
Most good things take time, but not this. It’s an instant day-changer and I want you to start right now. Don’t read on until you can name three things that you can feel completely grateful, even joyful about. Write them down, say them out loud, close your eyes and think of them silently. Whatever it takes to get the feelings of absolute gratitude to wash over you until you can’t feel anything else. I’ll wait…
See? See how powerful that is and how it instantly affected your mood and changed your day, even if it was already going pretty well for you? There’s always room for improvement and there’s definitely always room for thankfulness. Next time life has you by the scruff take just a few minutes to do this and watch your world quickly change.
I want to hear from you! What things are you truly grateful for? Did it take something tough or scary to change your attitude to one of gratitude? What changes did you make afterwards and did they last? Let’s share our stories and remind each other of our many blessings!
Wishing You Total Well-Being,