Overcome Negative Thinking
With Gratitude:  Part One

Gratitude is the opposite of negative thinking.  Reframing negative statements into gratitude statements can be a powerful way to retrain your mind.  

When you focus on gratitude, negative thoughts take a back seat.  The mental friction and drag you experience with negativity seems to disappear.    

Intentional effort spent in gratitude will, at the very least, provide some respite from the energy-draining quagmire of negative thoughts.

Think you don’t have time to add a gratitude session to your busy day?  Here’s the beauty of it – you can feel grateful anytime, anywhere!

This episode and the next will cover a total of fifteen times each day that you can use as a reminder to think grateful thoughts.  

Here are the first seven:

1.    When Waking

What if you woke up in the morning with a grateful attitude?  Do you think it might help start your day on a brighter note?

When you’re just waking up and you’re in that half-awake, half-asleep state of mind, say “thank you.”  You might direct it toward being grateful for your comfortable bed, your home, your loved ones, or maybe you're simply grateful you woke up.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
~ Meister Eckhart

2.    In the Shower

Bathing is a reasonably common activity depending on where you are from and your personal hygiene habits.  And if you took a shower this morning, you did something that 2.5 billion other people can’t.*  There’s something to be grateful for right there!

The shower is also a great place to ponder other thoughts of gratitude.  You are relaxed and have a higher level of dopamine in your brain* -  the optimum time to entertain good thoughts.

3.    While Having Coffee

Around the world, people pour about 1.4 billion cups of coffee each day.*  If you are a contributor to this statistic, you have a wonderful opportunity to think about what you are grateful for during your first (or perhaps second) cup. 

You have the resources to buy your coffee, access to free markets where various coffee shops exist, store shelves stocked with multitudes of coffees for sale, quality coffee pots for brewing, specialty mugs for drinking, and electricity and clean water in abundance to brew your coffee with.

4.    Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Mealtimes are the perfect occasion for gratitude.  When I was growing up, every meal at my grandmother's house was prayed over.  Or as she called it, to “Turn Thanks.”

The typical prayer expressed gratitude for the day, the food, and the hands that prepared it. 

I am grateful for these memories, and I am grateful to have nutritious food available at local stores and markets, income to buy quality food, and a wife who not only loves to cook, but also does so on the scale of a five-star chef. 

Whether or not you "Turn Thanks" over your food, talk about your gratitude openly among family and friends you may be eating with, or silently reflect on the many things about food we have to be grateful for.  Mealtimes are wonderful touchstones to remind us of our blessings.

5.    Leaving for Work or School

Do you leave your home in a flurry each morning?  You’re running late, will have to deal with traffic, afraid you’ve forgotten something, etc.

Even if all of the above is true, take a second, literally, and feel grateful for the people you said good-bye to, the home you have, the mode of transportation you use to get where you’re going.

You may be off in a whirlwind, but you’ll have a smile on your face!

6.    Spending Time with Pets

Pets add so much quality to our lives.  They snuggle, entertain, teach, and love us.

The next time you walk your dog, pet your cat, hold your rabbit, or spend time with the pet you have, give thanks.

7.    Before Going to Sleep

A Christmas Prayer by Norman Rockwell"A Christmas Prayer" by Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell’s vision of family included night time prayers, as you can see in his painting, "A Christmas Prayer." 

Whether or not this is something you practice, bedtime is another perfect anchor point to focus on gratitude.  And it’s easy to work it in to your bedtime routine.

Just think how much better you might sleep if you drift off with thoughts of gratitude going through your mind.

A New Attitude of Gratitude

As with any developing habit, the more you practice gratitude, the stronger and more automatic it becomes.  Add this practice when you do any or all of the above daily tasks.

And check in next week for the next eight opportunities to incorporate gratitude into your day!




References*

“Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” accessed February 25, 2015, http://www.unicef.org/wash/

“Science Explains Why Our Best Ideas Come in the Shower” Melanie Pinola, accessed February 26, 2015,  http://lifehacker.com/5987858/the-science-behind-creative-ideas

“Coffee Consumption Around the World” Stephanie Larkin, accessed February 25, 2015, http://www.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/beverages/coffee/coffee_consumption_around_the_world.html

Return to my Blog