“It is impossible to feel stressed when you feel grateful.” I heard this while listening to a gratitude meditation. At the time I didn’t put too much thought into it, but once I did I realized the truth behind this statement. Feeling sorry for ourselves and like the whole world is against us feeds into our stress. Stuck in traffic … “of course this is happening to me.” Late to a meeting … “just one more thing to add to my stress.” Get into a fight with a family member … “Really? Another thing I have to deal with today!?” This kind of thinking makes us feel angry and frazzled.
We get so caught up in our own lives that we forget what is really important. We are alive. We have food, water, and shelter. We have families. We have friends. We have a job, a car, and a place to live. It’s easy to forget all of this and stay stuck in a stressful mindset. However, if we take a few minutes to be grateful for what we have instead of think about what we don’t have, we can change our lives. Not only will this reduce stress, it will increase our positivity. We need to start focusing on the positives in our life instead of the negative. Oftentimes we resort to using maladaptive coping skills like restriction or bingeing to regulate our emotions. If we work on changing our mindset we can increase the likelihood that we will feel better about others and ourselves. This is not a quick fix but it can be a step in the right direction.