So, I have decided to upload something completely different today. Many people know having a positive mindset has great benefits but I have seen many who struggle to find a way to do so. Thus, in this article, I aim to share my approach to staying positive. It has been very effective for me and I hope it will also be useful for the readers. I will intentionally write in a thought provoking way to really draw out the feeling of ‘gratitude’.
We all take things for granted – it is a natural human behaviour. It is only when we lose something that we realise that what we have been ‘used to’ is not something everyone enjoys. It is when this occurrence of ‘taking things for granted’ continues that we ditch the most important element in maintaining a positive mindset – An Attitude of Gratitude.
How can we become more grateful then? For me, the sense of empathy was a great tool to utilise. It is important that you actually imagine someone else’s feelings and emotions. So, turn on your empathy sensors to the max and consider the following points:
- How many meals have you had today? I won’t deny it, I love food and I cannot imagine going through a day without eating. However, I feel guilty saying this because I know that millions of people today cannot even afford 1 meal a day, let alone have access to drinking water. Imagine going through every day trying your utmost to gain access to the basic necessities of life. Did those people choose to be in poverty? No.
- What if you were born in a country where human rights are virtually nonexistent. Many people are not aware, but even today there are some countries where the citizens have no freedom, treated as slaves and tortured for no reason. Did they have a choice which country to be born in? No.
- Imagine if you were living in the medieval times. With lack of advances in medicine people had no idea what to do during outbreaks of plague. People abandoned families, even their children during the Black Death. Did they have a choice when to be born? No.
- If you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones who can see. So many people do not enjoy this privilege.
- If you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones who have access to the internet. Again, so many people do not enjoy this privilege.
- If you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones who can read. So many of us take education for granted but in some places even basic level of education is not available.
Those are just a few of the points to ponder on. There are many more but I will keep it short – hopefully that list should be enough to get my point across. I do think it is a shame that our gratitude can come from comparing ourselves to the less privileged but that’s just the way we are. We are vain, shallow and dumb because we don’t remember the most important thing unless we are constantly reminded of it – ‘Living’. Anything extra is a luxury really, isn’t it? For which we should be grateful, right?
There was a time when my life was so miserable because of the ‘limitations’ from having constant pains and chronic fatigue. I always compared myself to my friends who were healthy and enjoying their life. Then, when I started to experience Dystonia symptoms I felt so anxious about my career going downhill whilst everyone else strived to achieve their goal. However, I realised that those things making me worried were really nothing compared to what some people go through. Yes, I had Dystonia but it wasn’t life threatening. Yes, I was in pain but at least I was able to enjoy most part of my life without pain. And yes, I had strange muscle contractions and probably looked strange to other people but I still had my family and friends who supported me. It definitely was a great opportunity to reconsider the values in life and it allowed me to focus on what I was able to gain from my experience, not on what I was losing. It also made me realise that there are always two sides to a situation, positives and negatives.
Is the glass half empty or half full? If your answer was ‘empty’ why not try changing it to ‘full’? The situation may not change but we can still change the way we view things – it certainly has great effects. What is even more amazing is that it does not cost anything and it can be done right now.
Thus, let’s tone down the ‘negativeness’ and think for a moment; name each and every thing or person you should be grateful for. Imagine what your life would be like without it/him/her. Take 2 minutes before you go to sleep and list 5 things every day. You might struggle at first but once you start, the list will go on and on. Only downside, it might make you cry… lots. But, don’t be put off and keep at it! I can assure you positive thinking will become easier. I must admit, I still find it difficult to always think positively but I believe in the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ so I will definitely practice every day.
I really like this quote by Hugh Downs, an American TV broadcaster. I hope the readers would also appreciate this great quote:
“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”