We have heard from many of you that the recent election has been stressful and has generated some intense emotional responses. Whomever you voted for, the reality is that we are entering into a time of change and uncertainty. During this time, we encourage you to continue training the skills of wellbeing as a way of staying grounded, curious, and resilient.
With Thanksgiving approaching, we thought the practice of gratitude might offer the perfect way to shift your state each time you notice yourself getting caught in worries about the changes ahead.
Why gratitude? The Stoic philosopher Epictetus might have said it best when he declared, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”
The science that has emerged since the times of ancient Greece shows that our brains are actually wired to focus on the negative – on all those things we wish we had or we wish could be different. This prehistoric instinct is what leaves us blind to all the good in our lives and fixated on how things “should” be. This is especially true during challenging moments as well as times of instability and change.
The great thing about gratitude is the ultimate antidote to this habitual way of thinking. It also happens to be the fastest, most efficient, way to shift your current state of being.
So here’s what you can do. Next time you notice yourself feeling irritation, worry, or fear related to recent political events:
Notice – See if you can catch yourself in this state and just become aware of what it feels like. Notice the sensations. Notice the thoughts. See if you can just stay with it, even if it feels uncomfortable.
Shift – Now shift by simply thinking of one thing that you are grateful for in this moment. It could be your family, your work, the blue color of the sky, or the laughter of a child.
Rewire – Here’s the most important part. Instead of instantly shifting back to your ordinary habits, take 15 to 30 seconds to rewire by savoring and really taking in the good. Feel this experience of gratitude as deeply as you possibly can.
Gratitude probably won’t get rid of your politically-induced stress. But it will shift your state by reminding you to consciously appreciate all that you have.
We wish you a happy holiday season filled with joy, peace, and love.
The LIFE XT Team