Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gratitude turns what you have into enough

After 11 years of battle, and not much progress, gratitude has proven to be the most effective method for loosening the reigns depression has had on my life.

Like Timber Hawkeye teaches, "gratitude is about turning what you have into enough."

When you think this way, you leave very little room for sadness to slither it's way into your life. Sometimes, in the chaos of our daily routines, we forget to be grateful for the things not everyone has. When we take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the things we have, we feel at ease, because our lives feel abundant. When you train your brain to think this way, you realize there is very little missing from your life. You just haven't been opening your eyes wide enough to truly see what is in front of you. Whatever it is that you choose to focus your energy on will multiply. If you choose to focus on the negative things, or what is missing in your life, that energy will take over. You will feel sadness, you may feel the need to fill that hole with something that isn't healthy. However, if you choose to focus on all the wonderful things that are already in your life, you will feel content in the moment you're in, in the place you're in. You won't wish for more.

At first thought, it may seem complicated, or even overwhelming to integrate the idea of gratitude into your life. You may say: "I am grateful for my friends, family, etc." I encourage you to dig deeper. Why are you grateful for them?

For example, I am grateful for the fact that even though my sister lives 3,000 miles away, my dad lives 1,000 miles away, and my mom 100's of miles away, I never feel that distance. We are still closer than we've ever been, and stay connected through the phone, letters, and visits as much as we can. I am grateful for the friendships that are easy. Even when we are on vacations, and don't live in the same states, nobody has to put too much effort into the friendship, it's natural. We can go weeks without talking, and with one phone call, we pick up where we left off. The people in your life will always be there, and are just one phone call away. That's how you know you have surrounded yourself with the right people.

You can slowly add the notion of gratitude into your life by thinking of three things you are grateful at the end of each day. This helps to reinforce the idea that you have enough, and keeps you happy. Of course, it helps to think about the big picture, too. It helps to avoid taking things for granted.

For me, I've learned to be grateful for life in general. I have learned how much I have taken it for granted by not treating my body in the right way, and not living up to my fullest potential. I see people lose fights with battles much more severe than mine. These are people who were clinging desperately to a life they weren't ready to let go of. But they weren't given a choice. And here I was: selfishly wishing away a perfectly good life.

Everyone is on their own path, at their own pace. It's not only important, but essential to acknowledge and honor the progress of others.

What are you grateful for?