Shifting Perspectives: Finding Gratitude in the Thick of it

This past weekend my husband and I took a trip to the Texas Hill Country. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary, and to be honest, the timing of it all was perfect. We were one month out from the “holiday high”, and we were just plain worn out. In addition to this, the week leading up to this weekend getaway was one for the record books! I’m not sure I had one day without some kind of hiccup. This was a week of multiple Mother’s Day Out program tours (information overload: I left each tour feeling more confused about where to put my child), last-minute cancelled childcare, arguments with insurance companies, emotionally difficult client sessions, and the cherry on top: a flat tire. Yes, I was more than ready to get the hell out of town!

On the way up to the Hill Country, the stress from the week began to creep back into my head. It was apparent there were a few things I still needed to process. I began to think about each instance, and how I could have spared myself, emotionally. I’m not prone to overreact, but I have been known to get overwhelmed, and feel like throwing in the towel. As I was going over each event that left a dent in me, I noticed that I felt at peace with each instance because I looked for and found gratitude in each “hiccup” that I experienced. For example, there really is not too much to be grateful for in regards to a flat tire. However, I am so grateful I was close to a neighborhood, and not on the freeway. I was also grateful for all the men in my life who drop everything to come “rescue me”! I also learned that I either need to renew my AAA membership, or learn how to change a freaking tire.

Finding gratitude in the tangles of stressful situations is easier said than done, but not impossible. It’s all about shifting your perspective. During stress, an easy, go-to response is to think the worse. It seems like as humans, we are programmed to think about the worse case scenario at all times. Believe me – I get it. Sometimes this is completely necessary, but don’t you feel exhausted constantly focusing on how bad things can get? Or, how bad things are? I know this sounds like I’m pushing an optimist agenda. Really- I am not. I believe in authenticity and reality. The reality is that some situations really are bad, but as bad as they can get, we can always find some piece of gratitude. It may not come to us in the exact moment. However, upon reflection it can. This type of reflection and processing is so beneficial to your mind, heart, and soul. Holding onto unprocessed stress can become toxic; mentally, and physically. Finding gratitude is not “sugar coating” unsavory events. It’s accepting your life and learning from it. It’s allowing yourself to find peace. We all deserve a little peace.

I know in the big picture of life, a flat tire does not mean much. In my defense, I can say that the timing of the flat tire added intensity to my stress in that moment. Flat tires aside, I believe that finding gratitude can reduce our stress and emotional bruising. It can also help shift our mind towards positive thinking, instead of “dooms day” thinking. I encourage you all take this food for thought and try it out. Really – what can it hurt?

All my best~