Anticipatory Anxiety: The Art of Freaking Out Ahead of Time, Just in Case

I am a thorough person. Especially when it comes to my anxiety. So when a bad thing that may or may not happen looms in the future, I go ahead and get super anxious, just to cover my bases. You … Continue reading

Easy Gratitude Exercise

As we enter this week of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be helpful to share with you an easy gratitude exercise.

So easy you can practice it anywhere and anytime.

I learned it while reading Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World which is a great resource book for anyone looking to take back their life from stress and fear.

So as an early Thanksgiving gift, I offer you the

Ten Finger Gratitude Exercise.

easy gratitude exercise

When you are in a time of stress or worried thinking, simply look at your ten fingers. If their existence is not miracle enough to snap you out of your worry loop (I mean come on, opposable thumbs, how cool is that!?!) proceed to use them in counting off things you are thankful for.

For me the first three are easy, family, friends, health or something of the like. The next few come pretty quickly too. Having a house, a safe community in which to live, clean water, and free education.

But by the time I get to eight, nine and ten, I find I have to really think about it. What am I thankful for? What is good in my life?

At this point I start re-wiring my brain to focus on what I am grateful for instead of what I am worried about, which is really the whole point.

Pretty soon things get re-framed. Instead of complaining about the cold, I am grateful the hard freezes have killed the weeds I am allergic to which made the pollen count go down. Now I can enjoy walks outside again, even if said walks require a heavy coat.

So when you encounter times of stress and worry this week, just turn to your ten fingers and focus on the good things in your life.

Hopefully then you’ll remember those stains in your carpet or your fallen cake aren’t such a big deal anymore. Even Uncle Joe getting tipsy and ranting about politics isn’t the end of the world. He’s getting pretty old anyway and one day you might miss his curmudgeonly ways.

Remember friends, take a breath and focus on the good things, the big ones and the small ones. But most of all:

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.