This is my first blog post. Thank you for stopping by and reading what I had in mind today. I was making a short break from staining papers with coffee when I wondered what should my first post be about. It’s winter here in Germany and the temperature was about 8ºC. Just as I turned to watch the trees outside, the sunlight spilled in through the window. For that short amount of time, my cheeks warmed up and I was thankful for the sunlight.
That’s when I got the idea. GRATITUDE. Last week, I learnt a very important lesson about being thankful and through this post, I’d like to share how it changed my mindset.
The last months had been tough for me. I had to make difficult choices and I was very stressed to the point where I couldn’t see happiness anywhere. Waking up meant another day has arrived, hours must be spent and I had to somehow pull through. I dreaded getting out of bed. A dark hole was all I wanted to crawl into. Dark thoughts clouded my mind and I had trouble sleeping most of the nights. It affected my body and my loved ones in many ways. I felt lonely and my whole environment seemed dark. I thought I didn’t deserve joy and the love from my friends and family. Okay, real talk.
Every one of us has stress!
It could stress at work. Your boss is being unkind. Your colleagues are being a pain in the neck. You’re not performing at your optimum level. You hate your job. You assume you’d be higher than your pay when you smoke a joint, etc.
It could be stress in school or university. Your assignments are piling up. Your teachers/ lecturers are not helping. You’re facing extreme peer pressure. You’re not getting the results you’re hoping for. And literally everyone you know is hurling stones with the question “WHEN ARE YOU GRADUATING?” written all over them at you, etc.
It could also be personal stress. You’re in a new town, state, country and you’re homesick. You recently broke up or divorced. You’re single and you can’t seem to find the ‘right one’. Your friends are drifting away and you feel lonely. You or a loved one has been diagnosed with an illness. etc.
The point is, we all have stress. Just in different forms and levels. Age, race, gender, occupation doesn’t play a role in this. Stress is inevitable.
Acknowledge it. Accept it. Stop.
I left a trail of hair in every room. One liter of water was all I had in a day. Hunger pangs came every hour but I couldn’t eat more than two bites. Constant nauseous feeling lingered around later. Happiness seemed to evade me and I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed. But, the moment I acknowledged the stress, I told myself, “There are others with worse problems than you, so quit whining.” Some of use tell ourselves that it’s just a phase and it’ll be over soon. Sounds familiar? That’s honestly not the smartest way to handle this situation. We’re simply casting it aside for a moment before another event triggers and fuels the stress again.
After a few months, I accepted it. I accepted the fact that I had stress, that my body was being affected, that my mind was never at peace, that I’m not helping anybody while I pretend to be happy and that this stress led to many other emotional problems. Accept it. You will definitely notice the difference.
Now, once you’ve accepted this, you’re not going to sit in the corner and drown in your sorrows. You’re not going to cry your eyes out (I did that! I don’t recommend this to anyone!). You’re not going to abuse yourself with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, one-nighters, food or in any other way just to temporarily set your self free. You’re not going to lash out on others, break something or hurl anything at any wall. NO. What you’re going to do is…
Stop whatever you’re doing.
I stopped one day. I had just lost more water through my eyes (and nose, UGHH). Then, I stopped.
It’s time to take charge.
This is where the magic happens.
STEP ONE :
The moment you stop, follow your chain of thoughts in the opposite direction. Trace back to the origin of this very thought that’s upsetting you. It is easier said than done, I’m aware of that, believe me. Calm down and try to relax for a short while. Ask yourself “Why am I upset now? Why am I reacting this way? This makes me angry but should I waste my energy shouting or making firm, clear statements and speak my mind?”
As you work backwards, you will actually get the bigger picture. Trace your steps backwards to where it had all begun and see how the way YOU CHOSE to think brought you where you are now. Is the voice in your head saying, “Yes, I know, Ema! Everybody knows about working your way back. SO WHAT? It doesn’t change anything.”
The point is, we all have the answer to the questions. My wonderful mother told me something important a few months ago, “The answers are in your questions.” We’ve established that the thought process was our own choice. WE chose to think negatively ourselves. WE chose to be angry, get upset, be annoyed and much more. I asked myself why. Why is it so easy to be and feel negative, yet we struggle to stay happy or feel positive? Because, ladies and gentlemen, it’s easier to fall than get up.
STEP TWO :
Let’s make lists! YAY!
I prefer paper and pen to technology anytime of the day. So I sat down one night before going to bed and I wrote a list of things I’m grateful for. Parents, siblings, partner, friends, pets, etc. They’re usually the ones in the list. Breakdown and analyze your day’s event and how they unfolded. Did anyone hold the door open for you? Did the sun shine when you needed it the most? Is the weather good? Then, focus on your steadiest companion, YOU. Do you have an able body? Did you just recover from any illness? Are you making progress after a life changing incident? Write any small or big things you’re thankful for. Don’t stop until you run out of ideas. Then write your problems next to this list.
These lists reflect the state of your heart, how you perceive the world around you. One of the shortest yet most poisonous thought is, “So what?” They are not merely lists. They are going to help you now to realize how our mind is programmed to work. We often let the smallest positive things slip by unnoticed but a similar sized negativity blows up into the size of an elephant and we WASTE TIME dreading everything.
Imagine, you’re queuing in café to get a drink. The person in front of you is taking way too long to place their order and your patience is running out. You are up next and you’re greeted with a smile from the cashier, asking politely about your order. Drink in one hand, you’re getting your change from the cashier and receive again a wonderful smile from him/her. You step outside and join your friend, who’d been kind enough to wait for you.
Do you choose to tell your friend about your frustration when the customer took their time? Or do you talk about the polite cashier who managed to smile sincerely despite the number of customers they had before you? This is not a psychology test to see what kind of a person you are. This helps you again, to see how you perceive the world around you.
Going back to the list I made that night. It hit me so hard (in a good way!) how the following days changed the moment I began thanking God/Universe for what I have in my life. A very simple act of being thankful changed the tumultuous months I had into beautiful days.
STEP THREE :
Time to be patient. Don’t expect a change overnight. You need to have faith and patience. Yes, the seconds are ticking away and the days are moving forward. Lost time can never come back. Time stops for every one of us one day. So, measure time with beautiful memories. And beautiful memories can only be created if YOU think of it.
I personally believe that time is an illusion. “I don’t have time,” is one of the most common thoughts we share. It is also the same anchor that holds us all down, clipping our wings together. We do have time, we have control over it. It all boils down to how we manage it. Again, this is our choice.
STEP FOUR :
Make it a practice. The moment you see the changes after you become aware of your thoughts (I guarantee this!), don’t simply say “Thank you, God” and get it over with. Carry it with you, make it a part of you to be grateful. The best part of this magic is that you will feel LOVE all around your world and you WILL be happier.
I keep a ‘Thank You’ jar next to my bed and every night before I sleep, I write down what I’m grateful for throughout that day and put it in the jar. Keep a journal or stick Post-its around your room. If you’re not into that, think about the things you’re grateful for (sincerely, from the bottom of your heart!) before going to bed. It’s that easy!
Don’t worry, it’s the end of the post already. We really don’t realize how much control we actually have over the life we lead. I’m not saying we are masterminds who can create the perfect world. But the small changes we make in ourselves impact the world in a larger scale. We learn something new every day, if we pay attention close enough. This is how I learnt the power of gratitude and how strong the presence of love is all around us. I am sharing this because I believe in spreading positivity and I certainly hope you’ve benefited from reading my little opinion.
If it’s easy to say “I can’t!” why wouldn’t it be easy to say “I can!” ??
Thank you for taking your time to read my post! If you’re already following me, I love you. If you’re new to my blog, I still love you. I welcome any opinions and feedbacks, so please share yours. If you find my post uplifting, please share it. Let’s spread positivity and love all around.