The Gratitude Tool
It has taken me decades to come up with coping mechanisms to deal with my bipolar condition. I have dozens of coping skills to choose from. Some of these tools have been explained to me by the many wonderful folks I have come across in my healing journey. These helpful people include psychiatrists, psychologists, energy healers, friends, relatives and shaman. Some of these tools have even been given to me by the hundreds of spirit guides I have channeled in my lifetime.
But if I am feeling really bummed out, confused, bereft, and directionless, Gratitude is the very first tool I reach for from my considerable bag of tricks. I call Gratitude a tool because that is how I use it. And I use this tool EVERY…SINGLE…DAY.
Gratitude is often misconstrued as a virtue, but the truth is that it’s so much more than that. Gratitude is an immensely powerful tool because the act of being grateful actually produces happy chemicals in your brain…just by thinking about stuff!!
I can think of dozens of other ways you can lift your mood, yet the majority of them involve ingesting something or doing physical exercise. Practicing Gratitude can actually be a quicker, more effective than coffee or other less legal stimulants. Plus…it’s free!!
The first Gratitude tool I always reach for is the “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you” song. I explain this song in my last post on this site. Here is the link: http://www.HCBlog.org/gratitude-i/
Why do I reach for this tool first? Because it’s simple. And it’s effective. I can change my mood in less than a minute by just by singing “The Thank You, Thank You, Thank You” song. It is indeed that powerful!
Another tool I use is the “Gratitude List.” I find it’s very effective when my mind is heading down a bad road. I’ve used this tool so much that now I can quickly feel when a shift has taken place.
While many experts suggest making a list of 10 things that you are grateful for every day, I have ADD, so 10 things is way too much for me. I know that I need to make things easier for myself, or I just won’t do it at all. A short, 3 item gratitude list is usually enough for me to shift my mood. I mean, “why complicate things?”
Here is another interesting concept, if your list is short enough, it never has to change! Most Gratitude proponents say that to keep things fresh, you should insert new items into your list periodically.
If what you are after is a better mood, quickly, then it really doesn’t matter if the 5 things on your list (or 3, or 10) are the same as yesterday’s list, as long as the gratitude is real.
I have days when making a 10 item gratitude list is really easy, as the gratitude just seems to ooze from every pore. Other days, making a 3 item list can seem like an enormous challenge. For days like this I have come up with a short list of stand by plug-ins. These are items that just about anyone could feel grateful about.
For me the #1 item on any gratitude list is always my wife, Liz (awwwwww). #2 is usually my truck, though not always. Telling your vehicle that you love it every day is a good way to lower your mechanic’s bills. May sound crazy but your vehicle WILL hear you and will respond accordingly. I am 100% convinced that I got 2 extra years out of my last truck because I told it daily how much I loved it. I have also espoused this idea to my clients. Several of them have made a practice of this and they tell me that their car drives better and costs them less to maintain.
So, say I am having a difficult day and finding item number 3 is tough. Maybe I’m mad at my wife and my truck broke down so my regulars are off the list for today. HELP!
Dun DA Naaaah!! This is where your stand by plug-ins come into play. Here is a list of things that most people have and they can put on their list: clean tap water, clothes on their backs, a roof over their head.
My favorite plug in is “I am grateful for my shoelaces.” Kinda silly. Kinda Zen. But really, where would we be without shoelaces?
So try it. Give it a little thought and you should be able to come up with an easy list of stand by plug-ins.
In my next blog I will talk about some other practices that you can do to help improve your mood quickly. The bigger point is that a regular practice of “an attitude of gratitude” will increase your health and well being over the long term in so many ways that it will amaze you.
I am sooooooo grateful to the Harmonic Concordance blog for giving me an opportunity to present these ideas to you all.
Thank you, thank you, thank yoooooouuuu!!!!