Recently, I was taking the bus to meet a friend for coffee. I found myself feeling cranky and annoyed about having to commute across the city just to go out for coffee and about the time it was taking to get there. My mind was having these negative thoughts that fed my irritation. Now, mind you, I had initiated this coffee date. And it was with a new friend who I wanted to get to know better.
So I took a mental step back and realized how my thoughts (and the cranky mood they were leading to) were not serving me well. I also had a moment to reflect on how this whole experience was something I had not been able to do recently due to the pandemic. I changed my attitude to one of gratitude. I recognized actually how fortunately I am that I CAN go meet with someone in person for coffee. I realized how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to work on making a new friend. And I also thought about how blessed I am that, as I started my business a few years ago, I now have the time and space in my life to meet someone for coffee on a weekday. I mean, seriously- how lucky am I?
I gave myself a good talking-to, and I tapped into gratitude. I worked on turning my mindset around. Gratitude is a very powerful and positive practice to have in life. Research shows that having gratitude can improve our mood, relationships, and well-being. And I know all of this, as a psychologist and well-being coach. I have a gratitude practice where I keep a Gratitude Journal nightly. (See my previous blog post of 1/27/20 if you want to read more about my practice.) And I talk to my clients regularly about the importance of gratitude; however, it can be easy to lose sight of this practice when you are living your busy life.
When you notice yourself being annoyed by irritations, try to step back and appreciate what you are able to do. Appreciate when you connect with someone. Appreciate when you see something lovely or taste something yummy. Appreciate when you have small moments of pleasure, such as sitting in the sun for a few minutes or reading a book. We are all human and it is easy to lose sight of the special and positive aspects of our lives, especially as we get caught up in the business of everything. But when you notice yourself cranky or annoyed, give yourself a good talking to and figure out how you can change your mindset to one of gratitude. It will help your life feel more special and bring you more moments of joy and connection. So what is one small thing you are grateful for from today?