A Shift in Focus

It’s funny what a shift in focus can do to your outlook.

Craig and I have been dealing with quite a lot of stress lately.  I’m not going to go into detail about them, because 1)  I don’t want to depress you; and 2)  I don’t want to depress myself again.

What I will tell you is that these stresses–when taken individually–would be nothing more than a minor annoyance to be dealt with.  However, when you have ten or more of them piling on, and you feel like you don’t have enough breathing space to deal with even one of them . . . well, let’s say “annoyed” is no longer a strong enough word to describe how we’ve been feeling of late.

As a result of all this stress, I came in to work this week, grumpy, sullen and exhausted.  But, because I’m a believer in The Secret, and that we’re all powerful enough to shape our destiny, I knew that I’d have to do some changing to my attitude if things were going to start looking up.  However, I wasn’t sure how to do that, because–as I’m sure you all know–it’s not easy to change your attitude when you’re stuck in the quagmire of exhaustion and grumpiness.  All you want to do is wallow in the nasty feelings, and throw a pity party.  And there is a time and place for wallowing and pity parties, but I personally had gotten sick of the one I was throwing myself.

So I went to the website of the philosophy that I’ve come to truly appreciate, hoping to find some inspiration from The Secret.  We have the video at home, but as I said, I was already at work.  Thankfully I was able to find something there that spoke to me.

Right on the front page was a link, titled “The Secret: Daily Teachings.”  And clicking on it brought up a virtual book of 365 things I can do (one each day) to help me get on track and stay on track with what I know will help me live in harmony with the Universe and what I truly want in life.  The first thing that the book suggested was to write out a list of 100 things that I’m grateful for, every day.

I’ll be honest, my first reaction was “100!  You gotta be kidding!” because–as was already established–I wasn’t in the best of moods.  But I knew I wanted to change my thought processes, so I decided to give it a go.  The first few things I wrote were simple, like “I’m grateful that everyone at work is traveling this week, so I can sit here and be a grumpy bear,” but after a few minutes, I started seeing more and more things to be grateful for.  And, I kid you not, within an hour, my attitude changed.  I was still tired, but I wasn’t grumpy anymore, and I kept adding to that list all day.

Things that would seem innocuous, like “I’m grateful that I’m healthy,” or “I’m grateful that my hair is so soft,” truly helped me see just how many wonderful things I have going on in my life.  Will the softness of my hair eliminate all the recent stress from my life?  Maybe not directly, but by focusing on the great (or even “just” good) things I’ve got going on, all the things that were bumming me out earlier seemed to go down a few notches on the annoyance scale.

I set a reminder for myself at work each day and have put things on the list each day.  There are definitely repeating gratitudes, but I also often thought of new things to add daily, so I wasn’t just reciting the same things over and over; not that that’s a bad thing, mind you.  If all you can think to say is “I’m grateful that I’m alive,” hey, that’s an awesome thing to be grateful for.

It really is funny how a simple shift in what you focus on can alter how you see your world.  That’s not to say that all the stressors leave right away just because you focus on the good things in your life, because they probably won’t.  But they can appear to be smaller annoyances if you choose to focus on the good things instead of the bad ones.

And besides, isn’t it a happier experience to remember all the great stuff in your life?

If you want to see some more wonderful proof of how gratitude can help you have a happier outlook on life, check out this video from Upworthy.com:



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