The Art of Being Grateful

Once I started actively practicing gratitude, my life changed forever.

I find myself in a position today that I did not expect to be in. It has caused me to reflect on life recently and forced me to understand that not everything lasts forever. Actively practicing gratitude for what was, what is, and what can be has been a cheat code to mental clarity and peace of mind for me. 

I truly believe that like anything else you want to be good at, you have to practice gratitude. It is a skill that requires time and effort and discipline. I never really understood the importance of being grateful until I decided to drop out of college (I swear I was REBORN into a completely different version of myself when I dropped out and started taking control and responsibility over my life). 

Being grateful to me is not about toxic positivity (I do sometimes fall into that trap, it’s something I’m working on). I believe that in times of uncertainty and discomfort, there are choices to be made in one’s own head that will dictate how they view and act upon certain situations.

For example, whenever I am angry or frustrated, my immediate response is to blame the world, blame life, make up whatever stupid excuse I have in my own head to TRY and make myself feel better through pessimistic thinking (that way of thinking always makes me feel worse).

Instead, when I notice I am having negative thoughts, I will quickly try to redirect my thought patterns to ones of gratitude. 

I often think about gratitude on my way to yoga. If I am running late, feeling impatient, maybe feeling pissed off at something that happened during the day, I try to remind myself that it is an absolute PRIVILEGE to be doing yoga.

Once I establish that privilege, I will break it down even more and REALLY try to remind myself that many people would KILL to be in a position to do yoga (or any hard physical activity for that matter).

I will tell myself “Be grateful you have the opportunity to do yoga today. Be grateful that you are driving in a car that will bring you to yoga today. Be grateful that you have a healthy body that allows you to do yoga today . Be grateful that you have easy access to a yoga studio today. Be grateful for the life that you have. Be grateful that you are living today. Don’t take for granted the opportunities right in front of you. Don’t just do this for you, do this for the ones who don’t have the privileges you do, the ones that would kill to be in the position you are in”

I often have to remind myself and seriously have that conversation in my own head whenever I am feeling down and out. Life is simply too short to not be grateful for even the little things.

That is not to say it is not okay to feel down and out. It 100% is okay. I have struggled with depression my whole life, I have a deep understanding that sometimes emotions just have to flow and feelings have to be let out. With that being said, for me, I find it easiest to get out of depressed states of mind by practicing gratitude. 

This is a conversation I will typically have with myself in my head when I am going through some shit - “Hey it's okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel the feelings you’re feeling. You are not weak for showing emotions. You are strong. But hey let's remember to keep your head up, things could be worse, you have a beautiful life, and there are way more things to be grateful for than there are things to be angry or depressed about. It’s okay to let the feeling you have run through you. But remember you are in control and you have the choice to stay in this negative state, or you can choose to actively practice gratitude. Gratitude will give you more control you have over your thought patterns. Be grateful, you can do this, just keep moving forward and you’ll be okay”

I am not entirely sure that this way of thinking works for everyone. And I do not expect it to. I am simply here to provide a point of view. I have struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life, I have researched for hours and hours about the most effective ways to combat negative thinking. I have practiced countless amounts of techniques to try and combat my own negative thinking. And out of all the things I have tried to do to fight my own demons, I would say practicing gratitude on a daily basis has been one of the most beneficial skills and useful tools for me in my own life. 

If you want to take it one step further, write 5 things you are grateful for every morning when you wake up. Commit to doing it for 30 days straight, even on days you don't want to, I can almost guarantee you will see a positive shift in your mindset. 

Anyway, I fucking love each and every one of you who reads these. For those of you who don’t know, I started a blog right when I decided to drop out of college called ‘Popular Depression’ and I remember the community it created was unlike anything I have ever seen. So I hope we can build that community again together.

Today is a difficult day for the kid, BUT I am so grateful for the opportunity to write this and share this and hopefully bring some light to your day. 

If you have made it this far, thank you so so much for taking time out of your day to read this. 

A small announcement - check out the T-shirts we have available right now on our shop page. Everything we sell helps fuel the dream of ultimately helping the mental health community and eventually providing more scholarships for kids. I wish we could give out 100 scholarships every year, but unfortunately right now, the reality is we are a small start-up company and we need to make money first before we can make the big impacts we want to make regarding the implementation of mental health education/programs in schools.

Once again, I love you all. 

To those of you who have stuck with me through everything, you mean the fucking world to me.

This is for my ride or dies, I am so grateful for you all.


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