Want to be a superhero, or at least feel like one more days than not? Well what I’m about to suggest isn’t a vat of radioactive spiders on a distant planet or anything. It is something available to all of us, if we want to take advantage of it.
And what could this wonderful thing be…
Our ability to be grateful. Our ability to look at the world and see the silver linings and taste the sugar coating. See, gratitude is a choice and it isn’t one that it seems many people are in the habit of making on a daily basis.
Funny thing is though, something as simple as finding three things to be grateful for each day can change the world. (And not just the world as we see it, but actually change the world. Talk about super power.)
I have many years of not practicing gratitude. Pretty much I’m an expert at finding the dark side of things. (Had even upgraded to the deluxe cloud over the shoulder.) So this whole practice of gratitude is a hard one for me to keep up on a consistent basis without effort (it is getting easier though is assure you). And I came to this whole idea with more than a fair amount of skepticism.
But I tried it a few times. Those times when I was so negative that small animals were fleeing before me. Stampeding scurries of squirrels and such. And while I don’t think I was in the running to be Mr. Sunshine or anything, I at least didn’t end up charged with any violent crimes.
Kidding aside, it has worked for me and the dark days are fewer between. Sure I still get into funks and bad moods and desires to escape from the demands of others, but generally I can turn things around much quicker. I can take an active approach to shifting my outlook.
I can use gratitude to shift my attitude, even donning some rose colored glasses (have to take the bile green ones off first) for a little while to recognize the world really isn’t that bad.
Better yet is when I remember to engage in a gratitude practice. It’s like putting on armor to face the challenges of the day. Sometimes I go on streaks for days and then even really bad news or events can be accepted and managed (not with ease but at least without meltdowns).
For me simple is better so I take the time to write down three things from the past 24 hours I’m grateful for, with no repeats for at least 30 days. If I feel my perspective slipping then I repeat as needed during the day.
When I feel like putting on the cape, I share some of these with others. Doing that lifts others around me up as well. It improves my relationships: makes me a better spouse, friend, co-worker, and parent. Nothing changes the direction of a conversation more than a genuine expression of gratitude about the other person.
Another way I play around with this concept is to grab a metaphoric crystal ball and pretend to be a fortune teller, predicting three things that will go right in the next 24 hours. It sets me up to be looking for opportunities and keeps me focused on what is important and lets me live in a value driven way.
Here are a couple of links to further information about this resource within all of us.
want to be happy be grateful (TEDtalk)
7 benefits of gratitude (Forbes.com article)
a practical guide (unstuck.com)
Your challenge future superhero is to find something you are grateful for and post it for the world to see. Either comment here, post it to social media and link in the comments, or shout it above one of the tall buildings you’re leaping over.
Thanks as always,
With civility ~ Brian