Recalibrate from negative thoughts with Gratitude

With my birthday knocking on the door, it’s that time of the year I start overthinking my life. Let’s say this weekend I had some extra spare time (more than usual when I act social) to do this as I have been indoors with a flu. Honestly as a bad human habit, or blame it on the fever, I started thinking not at the things I have accomplished so far, but at those missing from my life first…

IMG_4225It took me some time to recalibrate and refocus on all the good things I have been given in my life, realize how many they are actually, be grateful for them, never again fall in the trap of taking them for granted, and welcome the future with a big smile on my face!

I read this great quote today…about Gratitude: “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” (Meister Eckhart)

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, little things, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present, which is more often than not a lot! Focusing on being grateful and saying thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress. I know many may say I am slightly unrealistic, preaching about a constant state of positive gratitude, but if you would practice gratitude, you would see I am not. Actually, to say you feel grateful is not to say that everything in your life is necessarily great. It just means you very are aware of our blessings.

Most people, including me, tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. Have you ever imagined for a second what it would be like  losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your house, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort? I did today… and it was a sort of “Aha, moment” combined with “I am damn superficial! Get a grip!” 🙂 Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. I did this exercise a few times, and it just made me realize how lucky I am and really blessed.

Every each of us should start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable “deposit” saved up, being richer, slimmer, more popular, getting married, starting a family, and so on.

What I have learned is that when things don’t go my way, I believe that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. So, when I calm down, I ask myself: “What’s good about this situation?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I actually benefit from this?”. It has worked every time to put me back on track and feel comfortable with a not-so-comfortable situation.

Once you become oriented towards looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Just try to start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful. This way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming presently happier. 🙂

 

Tough times? Here’s 9 Mantras I use to get back to the optimist groove.

IMG_3825If you ever asked yourself how a positive person deals with disappointment, well, he/she simply deals with it. Period. And finds a way to ultimately transform it into a learning experience.

I have realized that each time tough times come around, I learn a lot about myself. So this is how I take the unpleasant –  an opportunity to grow, to change my limitations and outperform my reactions and attitude.

Also, tough times make me be more aware of who I am and what I want. Weird, right? But think about it. It may have happened to you that during a difficult period you understood better what you want at the end of the day, you cleared your thoughts and focused on what really matters. The irony…

The more I thought about how I deal with not so pleasant times and situations in my life, I realized I actually apply a pattern so I put down 9 ‘Mantras’ or tip&tricks for getting over those tough days/times in your life… So here they go. I hope you find them inspiring.

1. I have what I need to get through this.

Thinking things like “I can’t do this” or “This isn’t fair” will cause you to feel defeated. Rather than insist you need more, remember what you already have. If you’ve made it this far in life, you clearly have some skills, tools, and resources already in place.

2. Living according to my values is what really matters.

There are going to be people who won’t like you and times when people will disagree with the decisions you make. But your job isn’t to please everyone. Be brave enough to live according to your values, even when that means making unpopular decisions.

3. Failure is part of the road to success.

Failure is not fun, but beating yourself up over it won’t help. Each time you fall down, it serves as proof you’re pushing yourself to new limits. Remember that each failure is an opportunity to grow stronger and become better.

4. All I can do is my best.

Demanding perfection from yourself will do more harm than good. Whether you’re interviewing for a job that you really need, or you’ve got one last shot to try for that promotion, insisting there’s no room for error will skyrocket your anxiety. A little self-compassion will help you perform at your peak.

5. 5 years from now this won’t matter as much as I think it will.

Keep temporary problems in perspective by reminding yourself that the emotional pain, anxiety, or turmoil won’t last forever. Many of today’s crucial decisions and major worries won’t actually matter that much a few years down the road.

6. I’m stronger than I think.

A serious health problem or an unexpected break-up can be very difficult to handle. But catastrophic predictions like “I’ll never recover from this” or “I won’t ever be happy again” will only drag you down. Adversity often reveals hidden inner strength you never knew you had. Believe me, I have been there, done that and made me a better me.

7. I can handle feeling uncomfortable.

It can be tempting to stay inside your comfort zone, but getting through tough times often requires you to do something different. Although emotions like fear, embarrassment, and disappointment are uncomfortable, they won’t kill you. Be willing to face those emotions head on and you’ll gain confidence in your ability to cope with discomfort.

8. I am in control of how I think, feel, and behave.

Blaming other people for what’s going on in your life won’t help your situation. Acknowledging that you’re in control of how you think, feel, and behave can empower you to either make the best of your circumstances, or create positive changes in your life.

9. I’ve been knocked down before and I can get back up again.

Look back at the times you’ve persevered before. Recalling your fortitude in dealing with past struggles can help you summon the strength to deal with current problems.