A funny thing about the human brain is that it is only capable of experiencing one emotion at a time. While people are capable of multitasking intellectually (women better than men), emotions are a whole different animal involving the focus of specific neural pathways in the limbic system of the brain and the autonomic nervous system. If you’ve ever taken a speech class or public speaking class, you may have been taught that you can trick your mind out of fear or nervousness by replacing it with excitement, or enthusiasm, or even anger. You can just roll up a magazine or newspaper and pound it against a wall or a table to get your blood pressure rising and work yourself up into a near-frenzy and presto, you are no longer nervous. I just wouldn’t recommend this before giving a somber eulogy.
So, whenever you are suffering from depression, hopelessness, anguish, dejection, despondency, discouragement, forlornness, gloom, melancholy, misery, ordeal, pain, sorrow, trial, tribulation, wretchedness, or any other synonym for despair… the quickest way to drive it out of your mind and body is with gratitude. Just keep repeating to yourself, out loud if you need to, every single thing that you are grateful for. Even if they are dumb things that you never thought about. Anything within arms reach of you right now, be grateful for. Then just stream of consciousness your way into everything else in your life that you can think of.
I am grateful that I have this baseball cap. I am grateful that I have fingers with which to type. I am grateful that I can feel with the tips of my fingers. I am grateful that I can see. I am grateful that my cat bite is nearly healed. I am grateful for the dull ache in my muscles after yoga this morning. I am grateful that I am healthy and fit. I am grateful for the air in my lungs. I am grateful that I can take deep cleansing breaths that expand my chest and grateful for exhaling the toxins out of my body. I am grateful for grapes. I am grateful for dogs (just sometimes not MY dog). I am grateful for the books I read. I am grateful for the people in my life. I am grateful for the time I had with my fiance. I am grateful that I can choose to have my mind focus only on things that are uplifting me and energizing me and keeping me centered and serene and at peace.
What are you grateful for?