We recently wrote a post called “All You Need To Know About Gratitude.” But several of you reached out and were wondering how to maintain a grateful attitude when you are in a dark place. When circumstances are troublesome, or your mind seems to be erratic and unsettled, gratitude is anything but easy.
Some people believe a dark place is something you feel. But feelings are directly tied to your thoughts. And your thoughts can create most of the stress in your life. Also, your environment can lead you to a dark place too, but, unfortunately, you can't always control your surroundings.
However, you are in control of more than you think. Your thoughts and feelings can run away from you, but you do have the power to monitor and change them.
So, as you can see, if you want to change your negative feelings, you have to start with your thoughts! Even though we are the only ones who have a front row seat to our thoughts, they often happen so rapidly; there's no way you have the time to capture, identify, or understand them.
To gain a new perspective on your thoughts and feelings, let's imagine removing your brain and digging through it for each thought. With tweezers in hand, you start to remove each one and place them onto a blank page. Now, read each of your thoughts without judgment. Remember, you can't shame yourself for negative thinking, or you will never break the cycle.
Now think: Are these thoughts true? Do they move you forward or hold you back? If you can remove all thoughts that are false and hold you back, how would it make you feel?
I guarantee you would feel a sense of relief. You would no longer be a slave to negative thinking.
Think about it…
When you are in a bad place, it's almost as if blinders have been put over your eyes and you see the world as one big disappointment. You become more critical of the people around you because you are critical of yourself. Gratitude is stripped from you because your thoughts are consumed by fears or bitterness toward the world. So you must hold every thought captive. Create for yourself a filter that only let's what is true and uplifting inside. You won't be perfect, but you must take the time to develop a new habit — one that lets the light in.
So, instead of spending all of your time trying to create a grateful heart this season without sorting through your thoughts and your feelings, try getting to the root of your heart. Once your thoughts and feelings are addressed, you will find that gratitude starts to overflow much more easily.
Remember to be gentle with yourself on your journey to find gratitude. It takes time to reprogram your mind to think outside of your dark place. Gratitude doesn't always come naturally. It's a process that needs practice every day.
We are rooting for you!
How have you been able to develop an attitude of gratitude while you are in a dark place? Tell us in the comments!