I’ve been seeing a theme in my blogs recently and maybe because it feels that this theme has also been happening in mine and alot of my client’s lives.
A kind of “How To (fill in the blank) When You Have A Whole Lot of Shit Going On” theme.
With the holidays upon us the general idea of being grateful starts to play a role everywhere. So you know, when we’re not identifying ourselves as #blessed, we’re the Grinch.
Thanks a lot Dr. Seuss and Hallmark!
The difficult part of my theme intermingling with gratitude here is answering the question of…how can we be grateful when we have all of these negative things or “shit”, if you will, going on in our lives?
Now I’d be lying if I said that I decided to write an article on gratitude, on its own merit and not because of the holidays. Gratitude is front and center right now, specifically with the Turkey or Tofurkey (if that’s your thing) holiday.
Although, to have a favorable outcome, a lot of the work I do with myself (when I’m preaching what I’m teaching at least) and with my clients, will have gratitude lurking in the background, I really just wasn’t feeling it as we approached this holiday season.
I pretty much threw this gratitude article idea out the window and said F*** it! Holidays or no holidays, I’m not talking about Gratitude right now, because I’m just not feeling it… damnit!
I’d like to tell you that at that moment I had an epiphany, but I totally didn’t. I deleted the few very phony words I had typed on the page and left it blank for more days than I had scheduled on my planner (shhh don’t tell anyone).
I had no idea what I was going to write about, but it sure wasn’t going to be How To Be Grateful, it’s just too darn hard right now.
And then the epiphany came, of course right as I attempt to go to sleep on a Sunday night, but I’m being grateful here so I digress. Instead, I’m grateful for this so called epiphany and I’m writing this on Sunday night at approximately 11:17pm from my bed. I’m telling you this, because, I told a client that I do this recently and he said, “I do too, you get me.” Sooo, if you’re one of those, what I like to call “night-time thinkers,” trust me when I say I get you.
Now back to my epiphany…
Ironically, I realized that the whole reason that I was having such a hard time being grateful and writing about gratitude was because I didn’t have any!… or at least I wasn’t paying attention to it.
Good thing I’m not really big on labels or feel a need to be “the expert,” because I really have no idea what Gratitude is exactly.
Is it an emotion, a mood, a personality trait? Who the heck knows…not even google, trust me. I checked!
But, one thing was for sure it wasn’t on my radar. Another for sure thing is that when you don’t have gratitude, it’s really freaking hard to be happy.
On the flipside of that, when you’re happy it’s almost impossible to say that you are not grateful.
Imagine something that makes you happy, now be ungrateful for it.
It’s kind of hard to do, right?
Now imagine something that makes you happy and be grateful for it.
Piece of Cake! (metaphorically and possibly literally with it being the holidays and all, but that’s another day, another blog…)
Epiphany: Gratitude is Happiness and Happiness is Gratitude!
Being grateful and being happy are pretty much two sides of the same coin.
Now we may not always identify why we’re grateful for something or what part exactly we are grateful for, but if something makes us truly happy we’re lying if we say we are not grateful for it.
Do I have a whole lot of shit going on right now, YES!
Am I unhappy all of the timel, NO!
Therefore, I am grateful for all the things that make me happy so why not identify those things and be grateful. It definitely beats the other option.
And furthermore, why not take all of the things that I am unhappy with and flip them. If I’m identifying something as negative, science says there is a positive side.
To identify this ask yourself two questions.
Simple Math: Flipping a Negative = a Positive. (just the facts)
With this idea of flipping a negative equalling a positive, we can start to identify a lot of possible improvements we can make to all of these things that are blocking our happy gratitude vibes.
So let’s answer the big question: How can I be grateful when I have a whole lot of negative shit going on?
The answer is actually pretty simple. Identify all the things that make you happy, I mean EVERY LITTLE THING and acknowledge that you are grateful for these things.
My favorite part about gratitude and happy being the bestest of friends is that when we start to identify all of the little things that we are grateful for we will in turn just automatically start to be happy.
My favorite part about that is similar to my favorite part of most things I talk about. Which is basically, the more time we spend doing any one positive thing, in this case being “grateful/happy,” the less time we have to spend being the opposite.
You just can’t be happy and unhappy at the same time. And if you also can’t be grateful without being happy and vice versa the increase in gratitude awareness will inherently (pun intended) increase our happiness.
So the answer is… I can be grateful and happy, despite the whole lot of shit going on, because I’m going to identify what makes me happy and be grateful for that, therefore increasing gratefulness/happiness and as a result decreasing unhappiness.
-Hey Siri, What’s the Opposite of a Vicious Cycle?
-“I found this on the web…” A Virtuous Cycle
-Thanks Siri, You’re the Best!
(P.S. I’m grateful for Siri…ooh and the web…so many things!)
Often in mental health and just life really we deal with “vicious cycles.” For our purposes here, negative thoughts that lead to negative feelings, which lead to negative behaviors.
When working towards breaking these cycles we can flip the negative to a positive and start to create healthy cycles, aka according to Siri, “Virtuous Cycles.” Like the gratitude and happiness cycle we just identified.
Well, I think I’ve talked enough for what is now “Monday Morning” and I do have clients today, so I will need to look somewhat presentable and leave the house.
Therefore, I’ll leave you guys with two things:
The first, a page straight out of my Hit Your Goals Workbook to help you find gratitude anytime anywhere!
And Secondly or last, but definitely not least, this list from Forbes informing you of 8 Ways to Have More Gratitude Every Day for us to really get this Gratitude/Happiness Cycle going.
Good luck and enjoy being happy. If I can help, you know where to find me.