Recovering from surgery is not fun! There are lots of aches and pains and little inconveniences that make life just plain difficult. What’s worse is that it has affected my mood. I didn’t realize how low I had sunk until I listened to myself sharing with a friend all my pains and inconveniences. I realized just how negative I had become. My friend was sympathetic, for sure. But I realized that I was allowing myself to “become my pain.” That stung! I usually pride myself for being pretty positive, but I had allowed my mood to sink to a really dark place.
I’m usually a positive person who is grateful for the life I have. At that moment I realized just how easy it is easy to stay positive and in gratitude when you feel good and life is easy and comfortable. When, however, life takes a nose-dive into pain, loss, chaos, or negativity – then it’s just plain hard to stay in a good place.
This started me thinking about how we can stay positive when we feel like crap! I know I don’t feel very positive or grateful when I hurt all over. It’s challenging and feels like it takes way too much effort. I’d rather whine and feel sorry for myself. But that doesn’t make me feel better either. And, according to the Law of Attraction, the Universe provides what we are most focused on. Whining and feeling sorry for oneself only brings more of the same. Ugh!
My reflections led me to remember a book I read by psychiatrist Victor Frankl entitled Man’s Search for Meaning. It describes Frankl’s life in Nazi death camps from 1942 to 1945 where he labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz. He survived while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. In this place of no hope and immense despair Frankl learned a powerful spiritual lesson. We can’t avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl came to realize that our primary human drive in life is not pleasure, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.
One of his tools that sustained him and helped him to live each day with hope was his Jewish heritage of daily prayers and blessings of gratitude. You might ask how anyone could find anything to be grateful for in a Nazi death camp. These simple Jewish prayers and blessings, however, do just that. Here are a few examples from the Jewish tradition. Of course you can change the invocation to “Mother/Father God, Divine Mother, The All That Is, Universal Consciousness, Higher Power, etc., to meet your own personal religious or spiritual beliefs.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who creates fragrant grasses.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who creates varieties of nourishment.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who creates various spices.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who made the large bodies of water.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, for good news and positive experiences.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, for surviving life-threatening situations, such as illness or childbirth.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who left out nothing in His world and created pleasant creations and good trees so that people can derive benefit from them.
There are prayers of gratitude for the blue sky, for rain, for waking up each day, for their soul, etc. There is even a prayer of gratitude for bad news and negative experiences, for don’t we learn our most valuable lessons from our challenges, and don’t they also help us appreciate the positive things in our lives?!
If Viktor Frankl could find meaning, purpose and stay hopeful during three years in Nazi death camps, then how can I not even attempt to stay positive and in gratitude during my mere month of feeling like crap.
So I am back to saying my gratitudes each day. And when I feel miserable, I am shifting my mood by reminding myself of the many blessings in my life. My beautiful home, my friends, family and communities, the rain that nourishes the earth, the sun that brings light and growth, my ability to provide for myself, my mind that allows me to reflect, learn, and grow in consciousness. I have so many things to be grateful for.
I am discovering that reminding myself of the things I can be grateful for is helping me to shift to a more positive place, even when I am feeling miserable. I encourage you to try saying your gratitudes daily especially when you are in a bad place. It will help you shift your mood too.
If you are struggling with negativity and feelings of hopelessness and despair, please reach out to Joy to see how she can help you find more joy and positivity in your life. Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy here.