Life is full of hardship. Challenges lurk behind every corner waiting in ambush and things don’t always go according to plan. Certainly, some have worse luck than others (and mental health is a different topic all together), but over time the result is the same, we get beaten down and become sore from the barrage of stressors pounding on our backs. It’s in these moments when appreciation has its greatest effectiveness. It acts as a shield against the demons of negativity by bringing our focus to what we have instead of what we don’t, highlighting where we’ve achieved and not where we’ve failed.
Appreciation serves as a reminder that it could be worse. A lot worse.
Start with the simple things like the roof over your head, the food in your fridge, and the job you have that pays for it all. For a deeper understanding, consider the family by your side and the friends who’ve impacted you over the years; think of the teachers, role models, and other mentors that have guided you along the way. There is a lot to be thankful for, just open your eyes to see it.
You’ll discover that once you begin appreciating rather than deflating, there’s more out there than you initially thought. More to be grateful for and plenty of opportunities waiting to be discovered. This also means those demons trying to cloud your vision become invisible, because you can choose not to see them. Instead of, “out of sight, out of mind,” think of it as, “out of mind, out of sight.”
I’ll back that up with science: the brain prefers efficiency in its thinking according to Dr. Travis Bradberry in his article, How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity. When you repeat behavior, the neurons find quicker paths to each other making the process easier each time. Dr. Bradberry warns us that constant negative behavior will become an unconscious habit overtime, which places the upmost importance on positive thinking and the benefits of a strong brain game.
As such, is it too bold to assume you can wire your brain for positivity through repeated acts of appreciation?
It’s a logical leap, I’d say, so don’t just focus on being grateful for what you have, act upon it as well – don’t just be thankful for your friends and family, show them how you care (in your own way). And don’t stop there, experience the satisfaction of selflessness by passing it forward to strangers and loved ones alike. I urge you to wake up each morning and have your first thought be an appreciative one, look for ways to give back for all that you’ve been given, and remember that there is truth to the power of positive thinking.
The darkest of tunnels are illuminated by a single match and stay lit with a fire. It’s up to you to create the spark.
PS. I am extremely thankful for all those following along on my journey with The Davis Daily, and I am indebted to everybody and everything that has led me to this point. The lessons taught and the support received does not go unnoticed.