Unless you’re just waking up from a multi-year coma, you probably know that the interwebs are full of negativity these days (often justifiable outrage, but adding to the negativity in the air nonetheless). No matter which side of things you find yourself aligning with, I’m sure you’ve felt your fair share of hostility. Your feathers have been ruffled, and you’ve likely ruffled a few yourself. Far be it from me to tell everyone to take a chill pill in matters of serious social and political unrest. (Admittedly, I’m often trying to shake my fellow Americans out of their indifferent complacencies.)
What I do know for sure is that self-care and perspective are uber important in order to keep up the good fight, which includes just getting through each hectic day, let alone during such a crazy time in our nation’s history. Therefore, I encourage you to compile a long list of every, little thing you are grateful for. Write in a journal, open a Word document, tweet what you’re thankful for, or whatever method works for you, but take a moment to get back to the basics. Personally, I review this list mentally before I fall asleep at night, and I might also stop and breathe into this list when I’m having a stressful or low moment in any given day.
Start simple. This is one time you aren’t trying to solve any big dilemmas. Can you honestly tell me you aren’t walking on sunshine when you’re finally able to breathe the day after having a stuffy nose? Count your blessings: the big ones, the small ones, the simple things you take for granted, and the real luxuries you’ve been blessed with that many have not.
I find it easiest to expound upon these four areas: health, faith, wealth and happiness.
Health: Go through every area of your body. If it’s working, be grateful. If it’s not, try to think of the lessons this has taught you, or think of ways it could be worse, or skip it because this isn’t the time for a pity party. Think good thoughts.
Faith: This isn’t necessarily in the religious sense of the word. Be grateful for everything you know. That’s a gift. Ignorance is not actually bliss. Appreciate whatever you have a connection to, be it religion, spirituality, the universe, nature, science, and on and on, and all of the above! Also, contemplate the fact that you have a sense of hope or optimism that things will get better, or that you can make choices to improve a situation or empower others. Not everyone feels this sense of drive and passion, so consider yourself fortunate.
Wealth: You may not be wealthy, but you do have wealth. How have you made it this far (even when you don’t feel like you actually have come very far, even when you are in a pretty dark place about your finances)? If you were able to buy a can of beans today, count that as a blessing that could be taken from you tomorrow. You are likely wealthy in family, friends, or people you could call in a time of need, even if they’re just coworkers. We’re pack animals after all, even the introverts.
Happiness: You don’t have to be the Dalai Lama to experience real happiness. Don’t compare yourself to others and think about what you’re lacking. Stop assuming that happy people have perfect lives and all that their hearts’ desire. Measure your happiness in moments throughout the day. Forget belly laughs and nirvana: when did you feel a sense of calm today? When did you smile? Where, when and how do you feel most content on a regular basis? If you attribute this to material possessions or relationships you have, throw them on the list! There’s no room for judgment here about not needing things or people to make you happy. This is all about recognizing, naming and being grateful for what is, not what you need to fix.
Once you get to this point, you’ll feel a weight’s been lifted. Repeat as needed, because what the world needs now…