Today I’m going to talk about one of the best tools I have for dealing with stress. It’s not diet, exercise, or drugs. It’s gratitude.
There’s been some fairly immense stresses in my life this past year. There is pressure from many sources, not the least of which is myself pushing to succeed. There are financial stresses, physical stresses, emotional stresses…you name it.
And yet, these days I don’t feel depressed or stuck. A big part of this is through a practice of gratitude.
Life is never perfect. We have these brief satori-like moments of bliss, but the chaos of life soon changes things. Hold onto those moments, cherish them, and be grateful for them. There was a day in particular a week or two ago where events aligned to form an excellent day.
There’s a mental exercise I like to use. Imagine the perfect average day. Not the perfect amazing day of skydiving over Machu Picchu followed by dinner of lobster with supermodels, or whatever yours might be. But the perfect average day. The day in which you did all the things you want to do to grow into the person you most want to be.
For me, the day is like so: I wake up without an alarm clock. I make my coffee, and sit down to write for a few hours. Then, I do some yoga and make breakfast. After I eat, I have a few clients. After my clients, I go back home to cook and clean a bit, do some meditation or personal spiritual work. Then, dinner with friends and a nice evening in.
I realized after a long but solid day that I had almost perfectly experienced my perfect average day. Not every note was hit, but all together it was close enough. I was working toward the goals I wanted to, and hit most of the points I wanted.
It was an amazing realization. And the strength of gratitude for that day has really held me through some other stressful ones.
So, today I have homework for you. Don’t worry, it’s not hard. I want you to think about your perfect average day. What do you do? How do you feel? What do you work on or accomplish? Write it down. Make a physical copy somewhere, and post it. Work toward making it an everyday reality.
While you’re doing that, focus on gratitude for the chances you have and the experiences you make. It’s a potent double whammy of an exercise.
Live fiercely, my friends.