Ever have one of those days? You know the kind: the coffee pot clogs and water and grounds are all over the counter, the car doesn’t start, all the lights turn red on your way to your appointment and you’re already late? What about a day when you get in one of those moods? Your clothes are uncomfortable, your coffee is too hot, and something smells bad in the fridge. Things seem to go from bad to worse each moment. The merry go round is going and you want to get off! How do you stop it? The best way to throw on the brakes that I have tried is to stop!
But it takes more than just telling myself this attitude stinks and I don’t want to be this way. I have to change my attitude. The only thing I have found that actually works for me is to force myself to name good things that happened that day. There are good things happening all the time but when I am in “one of those moods” I don’t see them. I have to stop and remind myself of what they are. So the question becomes, What am I thankful for?
Sometimes I have to start with the basics: the air I am breathing, a body that is working, water to drink. But once I get going, recognizing the many things I have to be thankful for I can literally feel my muscles relax and the tense, yucky attitude fades. It isn’t easy to get there, I really have to force myself out of the bad attitude sometimes. I have been challenged on many occasions by how opposite my head and heart feel from the straightforward words of Paul …”in everything, give thanks.” What has really helped me is remembering that change is a process it’s not as simple as flipping a light switch: on – off- on – off. I have to cultivate thankfulness. That takes focused attention.
If you need help with this like I do, I have a book recommendation for you. It is life changing! 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Her writing style is very poetic and visual; as I read I could see the road she spoke of, the trees she described. But she has an economy of words that I admire; a way of writing that drew me in but didn’t go on too long. I don’t want to take away from the value of reading her book, but I loved how she unpacked this idea of being thankful. If you haven’t read it I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you do. Then when you start to go down the path of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, you can catch yourself and start a thankful list instead!