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A different take on gratitude– using it to alleviate mental junk.

This is the season that the word “gratitude” is on everyone’s lips in some form or another. “Thanksgiving,” for one is probably something you’ve said this month, out loud. 🙂 Recently though I used thanks giving in a different context—as a way to get out of “mental ugh.”

IMG_8180.JPGI’ve mentioned recently that for the last year or so I’ve gone through a cyclical depression that lasts a few days a month and is related to hormones and nursing. On those days, I can tell the moment I open my eyes that it is going to be one of those days.  I know this, because to me it feels like I’m looking at the world through a filter, that is not my normal way of seeing things. Ugh, I hate that lens.

One of those mornings in particular I came across a Facebook post about gratitude.  I quickly responded to the post saying “Thank you. I’m going to use this today.”  And I did. Every time I noticed that I was mired in shitty thoughts, I would look around and find something to be grateful for.  Anything.

Once I was in the bathroom.  And my thought was, “I am grateful for this towel.”  I said it in my mind, because it was the first thing I saw.  But as I said it I actually started to think of all the ways that I was thankful for that towel truly.  One, I love linens, fine ones, and colors.  And the towel in front of me happened to have all of those qualities.  But even more than that my mind went on to things like, “I’m so grateful that I bought this towel.  I’m so grateful that I can afford to buy luxury linens. I’m grateful that I get to use it, and enjoy it.” … It may sounds trite now, but seriously it made such a big shift in me.  I walked out of the bathroom feeling boyant instead of mired in ugh.

I did it over and over again throughout the day (and still do it randomly now), and largely about the most ordinary things.  That’s because I would pretty much pick whatever I happened to be looking at and say I was grateful for it.  Once it was the salt I was using while cooking.  But it actually got me to thinking of how truly grateful I was for it.  How much easier my life was made by having it at my disposal, even at that moment.  “I’m so grateful for this salt.  I don’t have to run to the store (with my kids in tow) right now to get it—because I have it.  That makes my life easier.  It makes the dinner taste better.  I’m grateful that I thought of getting it when I was last at the store and needed it. Thank goodness I plan ahead to have these simple things on hand so that things flow easily around meal times.”  It went on and on.

It truly was a tool of transformation for me that day.
Also, incidentally because I happened to be using it with such ordinary things, it had this double un-intended aspect of making me aware of these very plain items and how much they added to my life in a positive way. On many more a day I’ve sighed an internal smile over that towel and that salt, and other “meaningless” things, because this practice made me more aware of them.

So this season, give it a shot. Use the word “Thanksgiving” as a daily reminder. And be grateful for the ordinary things. You’ll like it, trust me. That salt never looked so good! 😉

And, P.S.
If you find yourself being grateful for something really funny or bizarre, or even truly ordinary, please let us know with a comment. Let’s pump up the gratitude volume together!

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Thanks! Thanks!

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