Challenge Anxiety with a Daily Practice of Gratitude
I’ve spent much of my life wanting more. More money, a better job, a nicer home, cooler stuff, more skills, and on, and on and on. To be honest, my minds quest to always want more is tenacious! I also have a bad habit of comparing myself to others, and wishing I had, or was doing what they were doing. I’ve learned that my way of thinking is driven by the thought process or illusion of “scarcity”.
When I take a closer look, the truth is, I have everything I need. I have a beautiful wife, most handsome son in the world (no really), loving family, great friends, a beautiful home to live in, food in my belly, heat, a car, clothing, a great income, as well, I get to make a a huge difference in the lives of people daily. I’m also healthy and still have plenty of youth left. The truth is, I can keep going on about how blessed I truly am. It feels pretty good to say that! So, why is my mind telling me the opposite? Why do I feel like a big loser at times? Why am I so focused on negativity, and not the infinite blessings all around me? Why am I constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’? Sound familiar?
Consider this way of being is a “survival” mechanism. Throughout our evolution we've needed to keep ourselves consistently reminded and motivated to acquire the basics for survival. Now we have abundant resources all around us. Unfortunately we haven’t evolved enough to relax our urgency to have and possess like our lives depend on it. Respectfully, I understand many in this world are truly living in scarce and incredibly challenging conditions.
Our survival mechanism is quite cunning keeping us on task (or off task). On average, we have between 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day. Unfortunately for most of us, 80% of these thoughts are negative. These thoughts attempt to motivate us to get more, to do more, to compare ourselves to our rock star friends, and colleagues (you know who you are, it’s exhausting trying to keep up with of of your awesomeness).
Are needs are met, but we keep filling our “boxes” with stuff and desires. We’re never really content, and our survival mechanism keeps going at full speed ensuring that we have all that we need to survive. As a result of all of this wanting, comparing, acquiring, frantically trying to keep up, we’re left feeling tremendously anxious, depressed, and for some of us, hopeless.
I believe this way of thinking is responsible for the inequities of the world. It’s the cause of greed, war, and environmental destruction. Without some kind of divine miracle, this way of thinking most-likely will wipe us out completely.
The good news is, it’s possible to re-program our brain to create a mindset of sufficiently and abundance. It’s actually quite easy. All it takes is frequent reminders to acknowledge, and to be grateful for what you have. It takes minutes and has the power to shift our mind from suffering in scarcity to a place of sufficiently, and with practice, abundance. How would your day be different if you approached it through the lens of abundance? What would you create?
The practice of gratitude is easy! simply list (or say to your self) several things that you’re grateful for. Most of us can find plenty.
I’m grateful for:
-My beautiful and supportive family
-My smart, kind and handsome son
-I get to make a huge difference in people’s life every day
-My exceptional friends
-I live in a beautiful home in a great neighborhood
-My coaching practice
I feel better all ready; so much to truly be grateful for. What would happen if you practiced being grateful regularly? What's your experience with practicing gratitude? I'd love to see your comments below.