2020 easily had you focussed on all the things that you cannot do. The places you cannot visit. The friends you cannot see. And the plans you had, that you cannot carry out.
At least that was a big part of me. I focussed on all these things until I realized I need to check my fucking priviledges. I felt better afterwards.
After all, you get what you focus on. That’s just how our minds work. If something happens to you and you ask: “Why me?” – your brain is smart enough to make up answers such as “I am just not worth it. I am a looser. I am a victim.”
However, if you accept what happened and you ask: “How can I learn from this and what can I do to make it better?” – you will get a whole range of different answers that are more positive than the former. The quality of questions define the quality of your life.
Another great question to conquer negativity and to up your mental health game is the question of: “What do I feel grateful for?”
Seriously, next to mediation I think this is the only self help that works for everyone. You automatically focus on what you have rather than on what you don’t have. In the long-run, asking this question regulary, you will become more balanced, humbler and happier.
But to be honest, I have let the habit of asking myself this question slack a lot lately. It’s not easy to remind yourself regularly to ask this question when you have a lot of other things to take care of. But since a few day I am back at writing down five things at night that I feel grateful for.
Yesterdays list looks like this:
1. I feel grateful to be able to support great endeavours through my work, namely the “Gemeinschaft in Kehna” a community project with mentally challenged people that produce the most amazing biological coffee.
2. I feel grateful for reconnecting with Richard, a friend of mine from Portugal, that inspired me to become a social entrepreneur and changemaker. (If you are interested in learning how “A Sustainable, Inclusive & Fair Free Market is Possible” – check out his website here.)
3. I feel grateful for the serendipity happening at the coworking space where I work. There is this older guy that is retired and probably in his 70s, but stayed so incredibly young in his mind. He connected with my (30-year-old) friend today that produces music and now they are going to meet each other to produce music.
4. I feel grateful for being able to dance last night at my friends place, where he played a 2-hour set. This is his soundcloud account if you wanna check him out.
5. I feel grateful for getting back my motivation to write again after letting it slack for a while.
After writing down these things, I simply feel better.
You might have noticed that I mentioned an refered to the people and projects that I am grateful for. That is another effect of gratitude: you will become more of a giving person. Because you focus on what you have, you will become more generous. (I mean adding these links is not really hard work, but the principle applies.)
Writing and reflecting about the topic of gratitude made me realize that gratitude also makes up a central aspect in self-love. Often I think that I could do more and put more time and energy into developing myself and into solving societal and environmental problems. But when I reflect about where I have been and what person I was a year or five years ago, I immediately feel grateful for my personal development and I feel more chilled, more at peace with myself.
I hope this post inspires you to take some time for refletion about what you are grateful for 🙂 start right now: what are five things you feel grateful for in your life?
Write them down. You will feel happier afterwards.
For the more advanced in the practice of gratitude: The next step is to express your gratitude towards those that you feel grateful for – trust me, that will make them and you even happier 🙂