How to Find Gratitude on Your Worst Day
A grateful heart begets beautiful things. Starting each day with a commitment to thankfulness creates a ripple effect of good vibes and positivity that will carry you through any day. Intuitively we all know this. Nevertheless, waking up on the wrong side of the bed and getting caught up in the dramas of life create a very real challenge. We chatted with clairvoyant transformational coach Christina Carlin to learn how to channel an attitude of gratitude in the face of just about anything. Keep scrolling to hear her tips.
“Everything really does start with gratitude. The minute you open you eyes, if the next thing you do is stay in bed for three minutes to say, ‘I am grateful,’ I promise it will make a difference in your day,” says Carlin. “Instead of getting out of bed in fear or stress, instead take a minute with eyes closed and be grateful for one thing, even if it’s just opening your eyes. When you start your day in gratefulness, everything else flows from that state of awareness. It’s like the gatekeeper for everything else that comes to you.” A daily morning meditation practice begins each day in positivity and reflection. Studies also show a 50-minute buffer before you reach for your devices can lead to a healthier, happier mind-set.
Carlin recommends starting a gratitude journal to dig deep and fuel your positive thoughts. “If you have an experience that you truly struggle to see the positive side of, start journaling,” she advises. Take a hard look at the situation. Maybe you experienced growth. Maybe you learned something new about yourself or gained strength. Put your thoughts to paper in a stream of consciousness and allow your emotions to flow freely. Freeform journaling will keep your mind fixed on the big picture and attuned to your highest good.
Attachment is in conflict with gratitude. Gratitude approaches life with an open palm, accepting what is offered and feeling thankful. Attachment is rooted in expectation. It says, "This should or should not be happening." This thought pattern begets grief or anger the moment things inevitably don’t go as planned. “You don’t want to be in that place, but you may find yourself there,” says Carlin. How do you keep yourself in gratitude? Release negative emotions. Get them out. “Punch a pillow. Go for a walk,” offers Carlin. As the saying goes: What you resist, persists. Hold the space to fully experience whatever the negative emotion may be free of judgment, in equanimity.
As human beings, we are not always in control of our emotions. We can, however, learn to choose our thoughts and consciously respond versus react when in an emotional state. Carlin says, “It is important to work through exactly why it is you can’t be grateful.” The trick is to keep moving. As we learned in Finding Nemo, just keep swimming. “Acknowledge what feelings are there so you can bring your awareness back to thankfulness and step into gratitude.”
Says Carlin, “Once you find out what is keeping you from being grateful, look at the situation objectively and ask, ‘What are the life lessons that I learned around this event that make me feel grateful?’ Perhaps you learned ‘I’m not in control and life is precious.’” No matter how bleak life can seem, there will always be a silver lining. Pain facilitates growth. If we learn to see the opportunity in challenging events, we can come at life from our highest self.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Kahlil Gibran, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” With suffering comes enlightenment. Without challenges and pain as impetuses for change, we would not evolve into mature and complete beings. Says Carlin, “Grief keeps us feeling sorry and disempowered. Anger wants to get you moving. It wants to get you into action, but it’s the wrong direction. It’s not the kind of action that will serve you.” If you can flip feelings of grief or anger into, "What is the value in this? What am I learning?”, you’ll not only find you’re happier and healthier, but you’ll also be maximizing your potential and truly moving forward with your path in life. Perseverance and positivity are powerful gifts. Feed them.
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Opening Image: David Burton