A Grateful Loss

I just finished watching one of my favorite shows on the FOOD NETWORK – The Next Food Network Star.  I watched as one of the contestants, Mary Beth Albright (a food writer from Washington DC), was voted off by the selection committee.  She made a statement through her tears as she left the studio that made me think.  She said, “A lot of people…….don’t get an opportunity like the one I’ve had.  How can I be anything but grateful?“. 

I thought about gratitude, as I neared the end of a tough week.  It was one of those weeks where I felt a general sense of uneasiness and tension about little things that weren’t going as planned.  As a result, my body felt weak and exhausted.  (Remember the effects of feeding the Mind-Body loop?  You can feed it in a positive, as well as negative way!)  The negative cycle can literally drown you unless you swim hard to the top, or, in my case, have someone that pulls you out .  Today, that person was my mother.  She reminded me to feel grateful.  She reminded me of all the little things were going right.  There were hundreds of them.  The most amazing thing was that, after I got off the phone with her, I had a complete change in attitude.  All of a sudden, my energy shifted and the world looked brighter.  Just like Mary Beth, I thought, “How could I be anything but grateful?” 

As I fed my mind positive thoughts, my body ate them up and I felt energized.  I went for a long run and felt gratitude for my health.  I caught up with friends and felt gratitude for the people in my life.  I cooked a delicious meal and felt gratitude for the beautiful food on my plate.  As I continued to focus on what was good, I found more things to be grateful for.  That’s the gift we receive when we feed our minds with appreciation.   

Yes, we all have issues in our lives that stump us and slow us down, and they are REAL.  But also remember that what we focus on, multiplies.  Problems escalate when we keep hitting the RE-PLAY button in our brains – the negative feedback loop.   Though we may intuitively recognize the importance of feeling gratitude in our day to day lives, sometimes it’s just too hard to hit the STOP button.  In those cases, create an outlet or lean on the  people that can remind you of your strengths.  Even a little dose of positivity can create a shift in vibration.  

So maybe Mary Beth Albright won’t be the Next Food Network Star.  And perhaps some might think she lost the competition.  But I think that in her own heart she feels she has won.  Now that’s something to be grateful for! 

Deepali’s Piece of Wellness:  What can you do to create a feeling of gratitude during rocky times?  Are there books, rituals, or people you can lean on to remind you to focus on what is good? 

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Cultivating Gratitude

We talked Monday about the reasons it’s important to adopt an attitude of gratitude.  The question now is, “how do we do it”?    Although we are all born with certain tendencies toward viewing the glass as half-full or half-empty, we can strengthen our brain circuits toward optimism if we practice.  I would suggest trying a few of these suggestions over the next several weeks and see how you feel.  I’m pretty sure it’ll be better than when you started.  Some of these ideas have been recommended by Hans Rippel, a writer for Optimal Functioning. 

1.  Keep a Gratitude Journal.  Keep a log of the things/people for which you are grateful.  It could be as easy as writing down 5 things each day.   Having a record to reflect back upon is a way to lift your spirits, especially at times when you’re feeling down on yourself. 

2.  Make the Right Kind of Comparisons.  There are two ways you can do this.  You can compare yourself and your current life situation to those that are less fortunate, thereby reminding you of your abundance.  You can also feel gratitude toward those that inspire and motivate you, thereby turning around the feeling of envy.

3.  Come to your Senses.  Remember the gifts of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.  These are part of being grateful for your health.

4.  Use Visual Reminders.  Place positive words, quotes, cards on your desk, bathroom mirrors, fridge, car – wherever you go on a day to day basis. 

5.  Go Through the Motions.  Do things that make you feel grateful and express your gratitude to others.  While going through the motions, remember to be grateful to those that may have hurt you, for they have also had something to teach you.  

These ideas will help you get started.  I’m sure we have all utilized our own techniques that have helped flex the gratitude muscle.  Feel free to share what has worked for you!