Your long awaited vacation is mere days away. Carly Simon’s hit song, “Anticipation” — although unrelated to your life — becomes your theme song.
You imagine sunrise walks with stunning picture-perfect moments … moments when you devour delicious local food; so fresh, so good. Calmed by the sounds of nature, you plan to power up with an afternoon nap.
How do you feel?
But, (don’t you hate it when the sentence begins with that word?) But the day you arrive it’s cloudy, with rain in the forecast. Your dream of perfect has been struck by lightning.
Life in everyday mode
That can easily be an ordinary day at work. You wake up intentional, committed, mindful, goal-focused, and engaged. “Today’s the day! Today, I’m going to be so very productive,” you almost shout in anticipation.
Linda calls in sick. The server is down. The phone is ringing with customer “unhappiness.” And it’s 8:15 a.m., right?
The sun is always shining
One of the things I love about flying is when somewhere around 25,000 feet the plane breaks through the cloud ceiling. It can be raining or just overcast below, but above … the sun is always shining.
Sunshine is good for you. Just some of the benefits of appropriate exposure include: 1) better sleep, 2) enhanced mood, 3) lowered blood pressure, and 4) a boost to your body’s vitamin D supply.
But how do you get above the clouds?
Gratitude, the lift for any day
Cultivate the positive emotion of gratitude and you’ll live in the sunshine and reap a bountiful harvest. Grateful people — those who see being thankful as a virtue — have an edge.
What would you like more of in your Story? Research suggests the following benefits of gratitude:
- Stress Buster – Stress can make you sick; gratitude helps you better manage stress
- Immune Booster – Optimism tends to associate with grateful people, which in turn supports your immune system
- Ability to Face Loss – “So much of gratitude is about one’s perspective and framework for looking at the world and at self. People who tend to be more mindful of the benefits they’ve received tend to focus their attention outward.” – Robert Emmons, psychology professor at the University of California Davis
And yes, this blog is for today, not this fall. Gratefulness is a character quality – it means you let others know by your words and actions how they have benefited your life.
Create Space for Reflection
The rain may change your plans but it doesn’t have to ruin your vacation. And so it is in life, gratitude helps you rise above the cloud ceiling of discouragement, disappointment, frustration due to unfulfilled expectations, unnecessary stress and conflict, and relationship conflict.
Here is an exercise to help you experience more sunshine.
- What relationship is challenging for you today? Make a list of 5 – 7 things you can be grateful for in that relationship. What do you appreciate about the person?
- What’s the hard part of your Story right now? While embracing the reality of the situation, what can you be grateful for?
- Who could you reach out to, by your words or actions, to say thanks for their influence in your life?
Here’s to your breakthrough,
Photo Credit: Joshua Earle via UpSplash