I have a secret.
No, it’s not my Spanx. People know I love them as much as my children.
My deep dark secret is…
Sometimes, I wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
And sometimes for that day, I. LIVE. THERE.
I loathe there. I complain there. I see all the negativity there. I eat bad salty food there. I judge there. I attract negativity there. I re-enact all the things I have done wrong in my life in alphabetical order there. And I leave my dirty laundry there because I also bathe there.
Once I have endured all my anger, despair, and anything else I can conjure up like self-pity, I’m completely exhausted. When I come up for air, I can still smell the stench of ungratefulness.
Sometimes my visit to the wrong side of the bed lasts a few minutes, maybe a hour, or so. When I was younger, it could last for days or even weeks or worse.
So, what about you? Have you ever had a negative event that landed you on the other side of the bed? And instead of doing something different, you just had a tall glass of Haterade on the other side of the bed?
Throw in an unexpected, unfortunate event that happens in work, health, with family, cars, homes, pets or lovers, and life gets really negative on the other side of the bed. It’s easy to slip in to the pattern. The pattern of Reacting. Negating. Reacting.
And if your attitude and state are in anger or “fight or flight” mode, the mere idea of “having more gratitude” makes want to punch someone’s lights out while shouting at them, “Thanks, I really needed that!”
And breathe again.
When you are ready to do something different and add some gratitude to your attitude, try these things recommended by Robert Emmons of Thanks-How the New Science of Gratitude can Make you Happier, who is the leading scientific expert on gratitude.
Remember the Ugly and Awful.
Sometimes in life it is important to remember how far you have come. It’s important to remember the pain, the disappointments, and the heartbreak to be truly thankful where you are in this moment. By feeling the contrast, as Emmons suggests, you can start to create the foundation of gratitude.
Sense Your Senses
When you see, feel, hear, touch, taste, you get to experience life as really being alive. Wherever you are in your day, take a moment to be fully present and use all your emotions. If you can’t, then imagine what it would be like to not be able to hear, see, touch or taste or feel the things that bring you joy or are near to your heart. That’ll bring you gratitude in a heartbeat.
Keep Visual Reminders
Sometimes life gets complicated and messy. It’s hard to see anything with so much outside and inside stimulus. Keep it simple. Emmons says that you should have visual reminders to remind us to be thankful.
Have a picture, or a token of something that reminds you to be grateful. It may be a single penny to remind you when you didn’t have two to rub together when times were tough. For me, in my wallet I have a picture of my family and my parents. They are my most valuable possessions. What’s yours?
Watch Your Mouth
Emmons suggests that all the words you use should be in line with the concepts of gratitude. Words like abundance, fortunate, thankfulness, and thank you should be a part of your daily vocabulary, not “holy crap”.
Keep a Journal of Gratitude
You may have heard this before and it bears repeating. In his studies and in less than 3 weeks, by keeping a journal of all the things such as moments of grace, gifts, the things you get to do, or the people you love, your life begins to help create the story of gratitude. This process of journaling has big benefits such as resulting in more sleep and more energy.
By putting all these 5 actions into place, you now have the tools to replace your attitude with ridiculous amounts of gratitude no matter what side of the bed you wake up on. In this moment, you will be grateful that you have a bed as I am grateful for mine, and my Spanx. Namaste.