Gratitude and attitude

Sometimes I wallow in my worries so hard I could drown. I am so completely immersed, that I miss whole conversations, chunks of time and even patches of road I’m driving. I focus on everything that is wrong, could go wrong, and all the mistakes I could make while things go wrong so I can make them even more wrong. It’s impressive how much “wrong” I can stuff in to one scenario.

Here’s how it works – I’m worried about one simple thing – will it become a problem, and suddenly I’m thinking maybe I can’t trust my judgement, and I bet other people are going through this too, and then it grows. Why is the world so full of sadness? What can we do about it? Where is God? Why do we have to suffer so much?  etc.  And suddenly I’m drowning in a universe of SUCK.   It’s at this point when I become profoundly sad, and dip into a black, inky well of despair.  Have you ever felt that way?  Like there’s so much to worry about, that it finally breaks you?

If so, I have a few tactics that help me, that I hope can help you too.  Take a deep breath and try the following.

  1. First, if you are out somewhere – go home. If you are intoxicated, (take a cab) and cease all intake of mind altering drinks and drugs.
  2. Secondly, once you are not driving and in a safe environment, and if you are choked up, tearing or already crying – just cry. Let it out. Go ahead and release as much as you can. Cry and cry. Get a box of tissues and go to town. Gently blow your nose, have some chamomile tea and cry some more. Why? Because crying actually produces endorphins, which will put your mind in a slightly more “right” state. Please rehydrate after crying, so you don’t increase your heart rate and get a headache.
  3. Nap. After a good cry and all those endorphins flowing, you may feel wiped out. Give in to that, and let your body rest. Try not to revisit the past thoughts that made you cry, but rather think about the soft bed, comfy pillow and cozy blanket. One good way to fall asleep is to close your eyes and remember your favorite movie or tv show or book, and play it in your mind. This works for 3 reasons: It’s pleasant because it’s familiar, and yet it’s not your life, and you know what’s going to happen next, so you don’t have to stay awake to find out.  Now sleep until you wake up. Why? Because you are now engaged in the practice of self-care. You love yourself, so act like it and allow your body to rest as much as it needs.  Give yourself permission. Sleep deprived people are more likely to be depressed, slow, and make bad decisions. Go ahead, relax and konk out.
  4. Once your up, continue the practice of self-care and make yourself a meal. Do not have a pile of sugar. Have something leafy green. When you sit down to eat, look at your food first. Think about it. You have food. You are about to satisfy your hunger. It’s a basic human need, and you are going to fulfill it for yourself.  I realize its a very simple, basic concept, but it’s important. Be grateful for this food. Grateful to God/higher power who made it, grateful to yourself or your mate who shopped for it and paid for it and brought it home, and grateful that you are able-bodied enough to prepare it for yourself. Why are we doing this? Because our current negative attitude is harmful, and we’re changing it through gratitude.
  5. Now that you’ve cared for yourself, with a cry, a nap and some food, it’s time to do some work. This is simple work, and you won’t break a sweat, but it may be outside of your comfort zone, because complex emotions come in to play when people do this.  First, sit in a chair, comfortably and look around. Notice that you have a full belly, are alive and well, and are being supported by the chair. Without comparing yourself with those who are better off or worse off, just acknowledge that what you have is a gift, and be grateful for it.