We all go through phases, moods and cycles.  Life gets chaotic.  It’s part of our nature as human beings. We respond to our environment and we act through our personality.

Overwhelm is common experience for most of us.  Feeling like there’s not enough time, being stressed about deadlines, there are a lot of things to occupy our mental space and keep us feeling balanced or off balance.

Cultivating Gratitude

Interestingly, the practice of simple gratitude or appreciation can really change our mental state, our businesses, our awareness and our experience. What does that look like? It can be as simple as stopping in the moment and remembering what you have in life to be grateful for.

No matter how dire our circumstances, we all have things we can be thankful for. If you’re experiencing a shortfall of money – be grateful you have a business and the ability to generate income. Be grateful for the weather, or having a roof over your head or enough to eat. Be grateful for personal freedom. Or the people in your life. Or your health. Your eyesight.

It easy when you know how

Try this exercise right now. Stop reading. Stop whatever you’re doing. Yes, you can afford 2 minutes – really you can. I know, you’re probably powering through this article, thinking you don’t even really have time to read it, never mind stopping for 2 minutes and doing something else and then returning here. I know. Stop anyway.

Take three really deep, cleansing breaths and think about 3 things you’re grateful for that you’ve never thought to stop and really focus on before. Anything. Your dog. Your car that reliably takes you place to place. Your best friend. Your mother. The view out your window. Anything. Breathe in and out and see these things in your mind’s eye. Say to yourself how and why you’re grateful. Keep breathing and keep focusing on this for 2 minutes.

Did it make a difference?

How do you feel having done that? Is your chest a little less tight? Is your mind a little less wound up? The act of gratitude is really profound. And, you can use it in almost any circumstance to change your emotional set point and feel differently. Truly. No matter what else is going on in your world. The practice of gratitude will shift how you feel.

Another great time to practice cultivating gratitude is when you’re lying awake and running your to-do list, thinking how stressed you are, worrying a certain problem – finances, relationship, work – chewing on it like a dog worrying a bone. Does that ever get you anywhere except tired? Thought not.

Try instead: breathing and focusing on what you’re grateful for. Worrying how you’re going to pay a bill or attract more business will NOT pay the bill or attract more business, focusing on gratitude will. More on this in the next article. Stay tuned!