What do you do when you find yourself in a blue funk, down in the dumps, and depleted? This happens to all of us sometimes because we live in a fast-paced world juggling multiple responsibilities and experiencing personal difficulties, global tragedies, stress, and burnout. So, what if I told you there’s a simple, yet profound practice that could transform your anxiety and fear to joy and abundance, regardless of your circumstances? One way to rebalance yourself in this very moment is by practicing the attitude of gratitude right here and now. Let’s find out why and how.
Why Gratitude is the Attitude
Gratitude is recognizing the goodness in your life and allowing yourself to feel and express appreciation. There are two aspects to gratitude: (1) receiving the goodness, and (2) giving the goodness. One of my teacher’s, Tara Brach, puts it this way, “Gratitude is like breathing in - letting ourselves be touched by the goodness in others and our world. Generosity is like breathing out - sensing our mutual belonging and offering care. When we are awake and whole, breathing in and out happens naturally.”
The purpose of gratitude is not to cover over difficult emotions or “sugar coat” what’s happening to or around you. What it does is help you learn to cultivate joy and abundance despite life’s challenges, so you’re not stuck in the quicksand of the blue funk. And that leads to a happier, healthier life. It also has rippling effects out to family, friends, coworkers, and the communities you live in. These are the blessings of gratitude.
Gratitude is simple, but not always easy when we’re in the trap of the quicksand. The first step to breaking free is recognizing what sucks us down. Examples:
Negativity Bias – Humans from the beginning of time had to constantly be on guard for survival. To feel safe, we looked for danger everywhere. Unfortunately, we still have those inherent tendencies towards negativity, fear, and anxiety, even though most of us aren’t in mortal danger in this moment. Dealing with this bias takes recognition and consciously shifting of our attention towards positivity through practices such as gratitude.
Comparison and Expectations – Comparison with others and unrealistic expectations makes us unhappy. Practicing gratitude involves appreciating our journey without comparing to others.
Consistency – Experiencing and cultivating gratitude requires consistency. It’s important to make gratitude a daily habit, even when life gets busy or challenging.
The Gratitude How-To-Guide
My client, Emily (name changed for confidentiality), was a successful businesswoman with a busy schedule trying to juggle home and work life. Outwardly, she seemed to have it all together. But beneath this exterior, Emily battled exhaustion and a sense of never being or having enough. Eventually, this significantly contributed to physical, mental and emotional burnout. Her goals were to be happy, healthy, and revitalized. It wasn’t until the pivotal moment of pausing to recognize what was going on that she began to transform her blue funk into happiness, health, joy, satisfaction, and lasting fulfillment. We worked on many levels to help achieve Emily’s goals and to feel them somatically in her body, not just mentally in her head. One method was the practice of gratitude.
Here are simple “How Tos” on cultivating gratitude:
Gratitude Journal – Dedicate a few minutes each day to write down 3 things you’re grateful for. Reflect on positive experiences, acts of kindness, or moments of joy.
Gratitude Buddy – Find a person to consistently share 1 thing you’re grateful for and who will keep you on track with your practice.
Express Appreciation – Regularly express gratitude to people who contribute to your life. A simple “thank you” note or gesture can go a long way in nurturing relationships.
Mindful Moments – Engage in mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or conscious breathing, to be fully present in the moment and appreciate life’s simple pleasures. Sense into it for at least 15 – 30 seconds to help rewire your brain’s negativity bias.
Shift Perspective – When faced with challenges, try reframing them as opportunities for growth and learning. Seek the lessons within the adversity.
Gratitude Rituals – Create daily or weekly rituals to remind yourself of the blessings in your life. This could be a moment of gratitude before meals or a gratitude meditation before bed.
Suffer no more with the blue funk. You, too, can have Emily’s results with vitality, satisfaction, being enough, and fulfillment through gratitude practices. For support and meditation practices, join my private Facebook group, the 3 Minute Mindful Circle. If you would like personal guidance, schedule a complimentary call with me.