Today I’d like to share with you a simple, yet profound, quote from Marcus Aurelius. For me, it sums up why I’m sharing the Miracle of Gratitude journey with you:
“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”
I remember a dear friend, about a decade ago, asking me how on earth she could shift her thoughts from negative to positive, when she had spent a lifetime training herself to think about the bad bits.
Much of my work over the past ten years has been invested in finding simple, practical, highly effective answers to her question. It’s one of the reasons I decided to spend this year creating and sharing The Miracle Of Gratitude.
The quality and ‘tone’ of our thoughts has a profound impact on our experience of life.
Telling your Monkey Mind to stop thinking thoughts that make you feel miserable doesn’t work.
Your mind can’t process a ‘negative’.
What do I mean?
I mean that if you shout at a child, “Don’t run!” it first has to imagine ‘running’ and then the ‘not’, by which time the accident has probably happened. If you tell them, “Don’t fall over!” then it first has to imagine falling over, and you can guess the rest. Instead of shouting, “Don’t run!” you could try “Walk!” Instead of “Don’t fall!” how about “Stay safe!”? Can you sense the difference it makes?
Tell your Monkey Mind, “Don’t think negative thoughts!” and it first has to imagine the “negative thoughts” bit and… you guessed it… it never gets round to processing the “don’t“!
One of the reasons why The Miracle Of Gratitude can be so powerful is because it gives you something to fill the vacuum; it gives you a structured training course for your mind, to help it gently retune from whatever its old radio station was to one that more often thinks of positive, happy, uplifting and grateful things.
It becomes like a ‘magic wand’ to help you turn your thoughts around, if they’re heading in a direction that you no longer want.
You’re not trying to ‘banish’ the sad or angry thoughts. In fact, that would just make them stronger, as we beat ourselves up for ‘daring’ to think an unhappy or unkind thought. As Carl Jung reminds us: “What you resist persists.” Give your energy – your attention – to a thought that you don’t ‘want’ and you are feeding that thought, allowing it to grow and continue. Instead, we’re simply looking to tip the balance in favour of the happy and more empowering ones, one day at a time; one thought at a time; no ‘forcing’; no ‘have to’; no ‘getting rid’; simply choosing to play with gratitude exercises and projects, one day at a time.
And what better way to do it than to tune yourself in to gratitude?
For those of you who are already joining in with The Miracle of Gratitude, I’d love to hear how you’re getting on. Perhaps you could share, via the comments box, how the daily practices have been impacting your life? Which gratitude project are you playing with? Are you still taking a moment to experience Gratitude Minutes? Do you have any insights? Experiences? Questions? Answers?
Not joined in yet? What are your favourite techniques for turning your thoughts around?
And if you haven’t had a chance to join in yet, here’s where to find out more about how to register today: www.MiracleOfGratitude.com
Great insight. Looking at things/situations from a could-be-worse scenario always shifts our thinking process to gratitude effortlessly. It is hard to stay grateful when our mind is fully hijacked by negative thinking and creating feeling of thankfulness for our life and blessings seem like an uphill task. Stick to reality. Accept reality as it is. Once our mind accepts reality as it is, we tap into consciousness beyond our limited perception and intellect and receive stronger thoughts to aid us through negative cycles.
Thank You for this lovely post. It has reminded me of this forgotten aspect of gratitude.