Written by: Camille Michelle Gray
If you’re in a bad mood right now, it’s your fault. Sober yourself with that notion.
Someone may have crashed into your car, stepped on your foot, and stole all your money. Now you’re angry at the world. It’s easy to conclude that this anger is someone else’s fault. But it’s not. It’s yours.
So long as you are looking for a reason to be angry, sad, victimized, hurt, etc., you will always find one. It’s called confirmation bias. It’s also called putting out bad vibes or attracting like energy. Either way, it all connects back to you. Ever start off a day on a bad note, and the day continues to be terribly “meh” or even bad from there on out? That’s no coincidence.
I am far from a Pollyanna, and if someone crashed into my car, stepped on my feet AND stole all my money, I’d probably fume around for a few hours too. Or maybe a day (or week). But there is one thing that is 100% guaranteed to change your mood, change your vibration, change your day, and change your life:
In the above hyperbolic situation, it would be hard to feel thankful for a car crash or an emptied bank account, right? But what if you shifted your perspective? What if you were thankful that you even had a car? What if you were thankful that you had the job that could recover your losses? And a stretch—what if you were grateful you even had feet?!
As Oprah says, if you’re breathing on your own without the assistance of a machine, that alone is something to be grateful for. (Go ahead, take a deep breath. Doesn’t it feel good?!)
Sometimes I go days soaking in sulk, thinking pointless things like Why not me or How come she got that or I’m ugly. These thoughts are energy vampires. They rob the world of my good mood and attract back to me more and more situations to feel pitiful about.
It is unnatural to be going through a tough time, stop yourself, and say Oh, it’s okay. I should stop being sad and just be grateful for this, that, and the other. I don’t advocate that. Move through your feelings, you are human. But I would always hope that there is a little tickle in the back of your mind that reminds you that you are loved, safe, and well provided for, no matter your situation or means. (It’s true. What glory it is that trees and plants take the toxicity from the air and allow us to breathe in clean oxygen. Little wonders like that should make you smile REAL big.)
If you took thirty seconds out of everyday to be grateful for three things, you can literally change your brain and become hardwired for happiness (neuroplasticity).
Aren’t you thankful for the computer or mobile device that’s allowing you to read this? So many people in the world don’t even have an Internet connection. Aren’t you grateful for the education that allows you to comprehend this? So many people in the world don’t have the gift of literacy. Aren’t you grateful for your warm bed? So many people in the world are without shelter. It’s the very things you take for granted that would mean the world to others.
They don’t have to be grandiose things either. You can be grateful for getting to eat a favorite meal of yours, grateful for having a television show that makes you laugh, or grateful for a device that holds ALL YOUR SONGS (and you get to listen to them whenever you want!) !!!!
A second thing I don’t advocate is wallowing in guilt for your gifts, and playing the Well someone has it worse than me, I should just shut up card. Someone will always be doing worse than you, how does your pity help them any? Be grateful for the things you have and let that satisfaction, comfort, and happiness COMPEL you to spread those feelings to those less fortunate. With gratitude, everyone wins.
I know you’re probably tempted to write this off as some airy-fairy, “goo goo ga ga” hippie nonsense. Big, ethereal notions like being grateful that you have working lungs, or being grateful for the spectacularly random position Earth occupies in space that makes life even possible may be unhelpful in small, more human upsets. I hear that. And sometimes it really does feel good to play victim—it takes the responsibility for your life off you and places it into some fickle higher force that’s controlling your destiny and wants you to suffer (no such thing!). Or maybe you’re media-vigilant, and see so much bad going on in the world that you feel it futile or unhelpful to feel good about anything.
But there is nothing fanciful or idealistic about looking around in your life and seeing what IS working for you. And something always WILL be working for you. I would behoove you to focus your energy on that. Focus on what you do have, rather than what you do not. Focus on what the world is doing well (clean energy initiatives, better healthcare, more tolerance), rather than what it’s struggling with. This is not about zoning out in your rose-colored glasses, refusing to see anything wrong. It’s about allowing yourself to feel good, hopeful, and enthusiastic in the midst of things going wrong, and allowing that high-frequency energy to touch and color everything. Because it will. And that is how the world and you will heal.
A miracle is a shift in perspective. Gratitude is the oil that allows that shift to move smoothly. And when you smile, the world smiles back.
You can start small with me. Like today I am grateful for warm cups of tea, wool socks, and my guitar.
What are you grateful for?
Camille Michelle Gray is a 22-year-old singer/songwriter from Washington D.C. She likes dogs, cheese, and Lady Gaga.