Whether a moment of gratitude occurs completely spontaneously or we’ve connected with the feeling of gratitude intentionally using the 5 steps described in last week’s post, these good moments can sometimes be hard to hold on to.
External events, our thoughts about some pressing issue, demands others make on us, and even our ever-present technology can interrupt the feeling and interfere with us “holding on to the moment.” Maybe the phone rings, or someone says something that “spoils” the moment (notice that the word “spoils” reflects a negative judgment that you have just defined!).
Maybe you look at your watch and realize you have somewhere else to be and you’re running late, or perhaps the memory of a stressful recent conversation pops into your head. You may suddenly remember you’re worried about someone you love who’s in a bad situation, or a feeling of anxiety may come up about something you fear may not go well in the future.
The list is practically endless. However, just because these distractions have made you “lose” the moment of peaceful, happy gratitude in the past doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to make the moments of gratitude last – because you can! The goal is to continue to reap the benefits all day, all week, or even longer.
Think about it: Our lives are made up of individual moments, and each one is real and valid and unique, all by itself. We assign them significance, based on our opinion of what they “should” mean and how important they “should” be to us. The problem is, we often “forget” to assign them the kind of significance that would help us. Instead, we allow them to become strung together in our minds, in a series that we decide “feels good” or “feels bad.”
This is typically so compelling that one “bad” moment can even eliminate or eclipse a long list of “good” ones that occurred just before it! For example, a cranky child’s griping can wipe out the great feeling we were enjoying for the last three hours because our boss recommended us for a promotion. Sounds familiar, right? How crazy is that?!
So what’s the remedy? Replace your usual “default” view of the world with GRATITUDE.
How? Well first, STOP! BREATHE! and FOCUS!
Decide consciously to remember all the beautiful, fun, enjoyable, exciting and inspiring moments you’ve had throughout the course of the day, week, month or year.
Identify any persistent memories you have of “bad” moments that are distracting you from Gratitude. Set your intention to minimize or abandon them – with gratitude for any constructive lessons they have brought you – because they don’t support your desired outcomes. Expand upon and magnify the “good” moments to reinforce your positive feeling and optimistic attitude toward the future.
How to Change Your Default Frame of Mind – Next time you feel anything other than grateful and positive, take 5 Minutes, wherever you are, and complete the following process:
- ASK yourself, “What is my desired outcome?”
- DECIDE that you want to be aware of and feel connected to gratitude in your body in every moment.
- One by one, RELEASE the “bad” moment memories by saying out loud:“This moment in which _____ happened (fill in the “bad” memory) does NOT define my day. All the other wonderful events, activities, interactions and moments are mine to hold on to and feel good about.
- IDENTIFY, “What memories and thoughts will help me be open to feeling gratitude? Which wonderful memory do I now choose to focus on, so I can enjoy this moment right now?”
- SHARE one or more of those wonderful moments with at least one other person! Say out loud that you feel grateful for that event or memory. Remember the old proverb: “a joy shared is a joy doubled.”
- BONUS STEP: EXPAND the gratitude energy by asking that person what they are grateful for. This question is always the start of a great conversation! It steers both of you away from the usual complaining, negative conversations we all tend to fall into. This step is guaranteed to put a smile on both your faces, and might well remind you of even more moments you feel grateful for!
Speaking for me, I’ll share with you right now that I am grateful that I have the time and opportunity to be part of your life, and for how much I also have learned and grown from my experiences and moments with you!
What are you grateful for today? How does it make you feel? I encourage you to practice making that feeling your default mood for the week!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ NOTE: If you consistently find it hard, or even impossible, to achieve this type of positive shift, and know you need some outside support in changing your default frame of mind – so you can have the kind of life you really want – consider joining my next virtual support group. It’s a great cost-effective, issue-specific and focused way to master the distractions that keep you stuck in a negative mindset!
The next group starts on Monday, February 2nd. Click HERE or call me at (201) 489-6720 to schedule a complimentary consultation with me to learn more about how the group might help you achieve your desired outcomes in 2015!