Appreciate What You Have

My life isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve learned to appreciate what I do have. When feelings of anger, hurt, frustration, discontent, or just general bad-will start to set in, I practice gratitude.

I also start out my day with a preemptive strike against bad thoughts by making a list of what I’m grateful for. I try not to take anything I have for granted; not even seemingly small things like my morning coffee, or electricity and gas for my home.

I appreciate that the sun rises every morning.

I appreciate that I can breathe.

I appreciate that I continue to wake up every morning.

I appreciate my friends and family.

The more I practice appreciation in what I have, as opposed to disappointment, anger, or jealousy towards what I don’t have, the easier my day goes and the less worry I have.

I’ve discovered life really is too short to sweat the small stuff and waste time being angry at things I have no control over. I’ve learned to accept rather than expect. And my peace of mind directly reflects my level of acceptance.

~Thanks for reading – LC

Higher Power – What it Means to Me

I’m not exactly what anyone would consider religious. I always thought I’d burst into flames if I ever went back into a church after childhood. As soon as my mom stopped forcing me to go, I was gone and never looked back. I don’t like the idea of any particular religion, and I definitely don’t want it forced on me.

I found it extremely hard to believe that any one religion has it “right” and that any any particular one “knows” anything for sure. So most of my adult life I shunned them all. I needed tangible proof and never got it, so I took the more scientific route over the spiritual one.

That got me drunk. For over 20 years.

Even though I didn’t believe in any particular religion’s idea of God, I always felt there was some kind of something out there that was a power greater than me. I just didn’t know what it was or how it worked. I still don’t know how it works, I just know that it does and it exists.

I know that if I ask my Higher Power for guidance or help, I will get it. It won’t always be obvious, it might come as intuition, or a stroke of luck, or a coincidence. But the more I practice getting in touch with my Higher Power, the better I get at understanding how it is helping me.

It won’t ever produce something tangible. That’s not how it works. I can’t ask it for a new car and **poof** a new car appears. It might not always be clear, but my Higher Power is always with me, working behind the scenes. It’s got my back and it helps guide me through life, as long as I remember to keep an open mind.

Every morning I ask my Higher Power for help through the day. I ask it to help keep me away from selfish thoughts and dishonesty. I ask it to help show me what the next step should be if problems arise. I take comfort in the fact that I know my Higher Power will never give me more than I can handle, even if it doesn’t seem so at the time. I ask it to help me remember to pause when I feel agitated, doubtful, or discontented, and to share with me the right thought or action to take.

I turn my will over to my Higher Power every day and tell myself I am no longer running the show. There was huge burden lifted off my shoulders when I finally turned my self-will over to the care of this power greater than me. My stress level has gone way down and I have more of a feeling of inner peace than I used to. I still get angry, but the feeling doesn’t last nearly as ling as it used to.

I also ask for my fear to be removed and my attention directed to what my Higher Power would have me be – helpful to other people. I ask it to help me be kind and loving to everyone. I’m not always kind and loving to everyone, but I keep practicing and my Higher Power helps me remember to try.

I was so stressed out and negative for close to two decades. I knew I had to make some major changes because the way I was living wasn’t working and I just couldn’t stand feeling that bad for one more second. I started by practicing gratitude every day. Every day I make a list of at least six things I’m grateful for, sometimes more. It helps me get my mindset right for the day.

I think everyone has their own Higher Power that is always with them, whether they choose to accept it or not. Good Orderly Direction. That’s how I think of God and my Higher Power. This power greater than me helps guide me through life with Good Orderly Direction, if I ask. I’m learning the difference between spirituality and religion. I practice contacting my Higher Power every day.

~Thanks for reading – LC

 

Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

My life got really unbearable. I couldn’t even leave the house without giving myself a pep talk every morning. My drinking was out of control and I was unbelievably depressed, sometimes for weeks at a time. I kept all this to myself. The person I conveyed to the world was not who I was on the inside. I was stuck in this vicious cycle of self-pity, self-defeating thoughts, and self-loathing behavior. I didn’t see the point in going on and wanted to die. And I wanted to be buried upside down so the whole world could kiss my ass.

I needed to shift my focus away from my own head. Being stuck in my own head is a very dangerous place for me to be. I needed a new way of thinking, an attitude adjustment…

I started practicing gratitude every morning. It’s the first thing I do (after making coffee, of course..). I write a list of a minimum of six things I’m grateful for.

Sometimes they’re the little things like coffee, or the sunrise.

Sometimes they’re things I take for granted at times like indoor plumbing, power, and reliable vehicles.

Sometimes they’re the most important things in my life like my wonderful husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin, or other people whom I love very much.

Starting out my day by writing down what I’m grateful for has made my life so much better, and it works almost instantly, almost every time. Because when you’re focused on things you’re grateful for, you can’t have feelings of resentment.

Also, when I’m making my list of intentions for the day, I leave out the “but”. Like, I don’t say, “I love so and so but…”

Including a “but” implies I don’t actually love so and so, which I do. So I just leave it out.

My disposition and my life improved immensely once I started practicing gratitude.

For more information on the subject check out Sonja Lyubomirsky’s “How to Practice Gratitude”.

You can do it. A little appreciation goes a long way. If you improve your life just a little bit each day, you will be amazed at the compounding effect of improvement, and at what comes back to you!

Invest in yourself, and be persistent!

~Thanks for reading – LC