O great it’s another fucking internet list telling me a little trick to drastically improve my life.
“15 Ways to Get Fit”
“10 Kinky Positions to Drastically Improve Your Sex Life”
“275 Thoughts to Remember When Life Isn’t Going the Way You Planned”
I can’t remember any of this shit when I am feeling a little down and out, when my thought patterns inexorably turn into a negative spiral of doubt and uncertainty from time to time. In fact, these negative spirals are called a spiral for a reason: they are like a vortex. And what happens when you enter a vortex, a black hole, or any spinning circular area whether it be in space, water, or in the mind? YOU CAN’T GET BACK OUT. At least that’s the way it feels.
Every attempt is thwarted by the same mind and thought patterns that got you stuck there in the first place. More than just thoughts, it is stuck emotion attached to those thoughts and that is where this handy hack comes in handy.
The hack is this: Say out loud everything that was cool about the day and everything cool coming up in your life.
Woooooowwww that’s it man?! What a joke, first of all it’s not that easy and do you realize how hard it is to think of good things when I am in the previously mentioned spiral of impending doom and dragons? Another lame self-help pitch, I’m closing this stupid page.
But wait! Hear me out real quick.
About a month ago I had finally finished the firefighting season in Southern Arizona and decided to drive to Tucson for the weekend and get a hotel for a little staycation. I was planning on working on this website, relaxing, and taking a young woman I had met the previous week on a date. But my little incessant devil voice had other plans for me.
By the end of Saturday I had pulled all my hair out trying to figure out how WordPress worked to build my site and literally “accomplished” NOTHING. I was frustrated, angry at myself for once again “wasting” my time and contemplating saying fuck it to the date, to the website, and to everything else. What was the point? Nobody even looks at my site anyway, I’m not even doing a good job at it and now I am going to go waste more time on a date instead of doing what I came here to do. Tomorrow is probably going to be more of the same. I am never going to be able to change in a positive way. What am I going to do with my life after this anyway? I need more money. I still haven’t even finished that book I started a few weeks ago. I should workout more. Damn I ate way too many cookies this week. On and on and on it goes…
Not exactly the mental positioning for an enjoyable evening with myself or with my date.
I stewed in my own melancholy for hours, deciding what to do but then realized it was too late to cancel on the girl so I reluctantly hopped in the shower. That is when something amazing happened.
I’m not sure why I even did it but the very small voice we all have, the cute little bugger with all the answers quietly whispering in the depths of our soul, it spoke a very quiet word. (getting very dramatic here). It said gratitude.
So I started talking out loud in the shower like a crazy person. Weird how singing out loud in the shower feels perfectly normal but once you take away any sense of melody and just talk you feel like you are going insane. Anyway, I literally said out loud all the cool things going on in my life at that moment. And there were more than I had realized. My dialogue went something like this:
“Wow, I found this hotel for $79 a night and it’s really nice!”
“I got to hang out with my friend Laurel and her boyfriend this afternoon and have delicious food made for me! And eat it under a beautiful tree in her backyard”
“I get to have the experience of taking a cute girl out, eating more good food and having enlightening conversation, maybe even have sex!.”
“Tomorrow I get to be with all my firefighting friends for an end of the season party, and the weather is supposed to be perfect!”
Sounds a little too forced doesn’t it? Kind of lame. That’s the point. I had to force it at the beginning because my mind and emotions were not in an optimistic, look-at-all-the-roses frame of mind. Once I started down the path however, it got easier to think of the amazing things going on, the experiences that now I look back on and think “I had such a great weekend.”
I know it sounds like I am neglecting the true reason for my discontent, the underlying factors that gave rise to the uncomfortable thoughts and emotions. I agree. But this allowed me to be in a state of connection with my love of living and implement the changes from that viewpoint instead of dwelling in the aforementioned spiral of doom. I changed the frequency, the vibes of my emotions so that I realized solutions to my problems instead of only dwelling on the problem. It also made it so I could enjoy the date and my Sunday, which were happening whether I was in a pissy mood or not. And they were never going to happen again so I put myself in a state to enjoy them like they deserve.
Ya OK cool but these are all bullshit, mundane problems in my life right? It’s not like somebody died or anything serious. This tactic is not for those deep, emotionally vibrant life moments. Those deserve to be felt. When I watched my grandmother die in the hospital a few months ago, gratitude was not going to help me in that moment. I needed to be fucking sad. Then it was time to see how much of life was still everywhere, surrounding me in a snuggie of opportunities.
I have used this strategy since this time with varying levels of success depending on the circumstances. The main takeaway for me is to FEEL the gratitude. Truly, how many blessings I have and do the best to feel it in the pit of my being.
With all this being said, sometimes the levels of stress and especially anxiety can become overwhelming and it is almost impossible to soothe them into submission with talking about the sweet things in life. They simply don’t care. For those moments, I recently discovered something that made me feel like new person in about 30 minutes. For that post, click HERE.