When I catch myself dwelling on the negative, feeling frustrated or irritated for some reason, I stop, take a deep breath and try to identify five things that are currently going well in my life. Here's an example.
I have an adult son who loves to play video games well into the night. Once in a while I’ll get up around 2:00 am And ask him to be a little more quiet so I can sleep. One early morning around 4:45 a.m. I smelled a very potent smell coming from the kitchen. I looked at my clock, rolled over and went back to sleep. Around 5:15 a.m. I was awakened by the smell again. I felt very annoyed. Why would my son stay up all night playing games and then cook something at this time of the morning? I finally decided to just get up. I brushed my teeth and went downstairs. A few days previous I’d bought some hamburger and hadn’t had time to cook it up, so I had put it in the crock pot on low before I went to bed. I suddenly realized that I was the one who had been so rude as to cook something at that ridiculous time of the morning! I chose to let gratitude be my attitude and find five reasons that I was grateful for this particular situation:
1- I can smell. A friend of mine fell off a roof and sustained many injuries - one of which left him with no sense of smell.
2- My son still lives at home and hugs me and kisses me on the cheek every night when he gets home from work.
3- The hamburger didn’t go to waste, I was able to cook it up easily and effortlessly.
4- I have a wonderful full time job that I love - that makes my life so busy that it’s difficult to find the time to cook a couple pounds of hamburger.
5- I was awake - able to get an early start on the day and even have the luxury of eating breakfast before heading out the door to work.
Somehow five is the magic number for me. I have five fingers, so if I force myself to search for five things, I find that it takes me out of my head and shifts me back to my heart. It gives me time to realize that I truly have much to be grateful.