Gratitude underpins it all things in life, especially when things aren’t going so well. We’ve all been there, we’ve all been through a point when things are not going right. When we’re stuck, the one way to coach your mind from depression is with gratitude. Gratitude underpins it all. Gratitude underpins the ups and downs.
Sometimes when you’re in a storm, you don’t always see a way out. Your brain takes over just when you should let your heart take over. You see, the head sees the past and present, along with all the associated challenges. The heart sees the possibilities and can see more than the brain.
Gratitude erases all negativity and depression because gratitude cannot reside in the same space as either negativity or depression. Where there’s gratitude, there’s no room for negativity or depression. It shifts your focus from your challenges to what you have. Gratitude changes your perception and your perception changes your existence. Also, whatever you feed your focus expands so the more things you think of to be grateful for, the more things you’ll think of to be grateful for.
So, no matter what situation you’re facing, no matter how grave or hopeless, it is important to remember what you do have. Write them down. Writing helps you to focus and forces you to concentrate.
In your gratitude journal:
- Write the everyday things in your life – you can walk, you can talk, your car (even if it’s not the one you want), your job (even if it’s not the one you want), your sight, you have clothing, a place to live, you ate today, you can see a way that you can eat tomorrow, your family, a friend you can share your troubles with. The fact that you woke up this morning to see another day, remembering that some people went to bed last night and didn’t make it to see the morning. Be thankful for the weather, whatever it is; the sunshine, the rain, the smile on a stranger’s face on your commute to work. Be really detailed about it and every day, keep adding to the list as you remember more and more things you recognise are blessings. As said, the more things you think of, the more your focus shifts from your challenges to your blessings.
- Write down the big things in your life. These are things that were challenges which, before you overcame them, you considered huge. Things which, before you achieved them, were so big that you didn’t see how you could possibly get to the other side of them. These could be serious health issues for example.
- The third list may surprise you. Here, list your current challenges. In life we are presented with many God-ordained opportunities brilliantly disguised as problems and challenges. It is in these that our biggest lessons lie because this is when we learn and grow. Those are the big-ticket items that when we overcome them, they enter the extraordinary list. Be grateful for these because without them, you have no experience, nothing on which to hang your faith. The things on this list will, when we overcome them, become our reference point, our blueprint or survival guide to help, not just ourselves in the future, but other people as well.
After you’ve done that, after you’ve written down the list of everything you’re grateful for, read this list every morning and evening, adding any more things you think of. Thank God for everything on the list. Then take another piece of paper and on this sheet, write everything that’s keeping you stuck, fearful, frustrated, lost or trapped. Don’t worry about how you’ll overcome these, just list them out, writing what and how you feel.
This is where magic happens; the more you see things to be grateful for, you’ll begin to see solutions to the challenges you are facing. You cannot read the label when you’re locked inside the box (Les Brown). Whatever you feed your focus expands so as long as you’re focused on your challenges, you will see more challenges and this makes you feel even more stuck. The challenges will seem bigger and even small things seem bigger than they are because as you focus on them, they expand in your mind.
If you do these things, you’ll change your whole life. You’ll see that things will start to move from the challenges to the gratitude list. If you start this exercise at the beginning of the year, at the end of the year, review your list and see how far you’ve come. You will be amazed by how much your life has changed, progressed and improved, even though you may not necessarily have noticed the needlepoint moves on a day-to-day basis.
Slowly but surely, things will move from your ‘want’ or ‘stuck’ list to your ‘grateful for’ list. Be careful though, these lists can be used as evidence against your mind so we’ll call them ‘Exhibit A’!