Not enough

Do you ever have those days where you feel like no matter what you do, it’s not enough? Your boss picks on the one thing you forgot to do, rather than the 20 things you did do. Your significant other berates you for your mood, rather than noticing the work you’ve been putting in to communicate your needs clearly and be more mindful? And all you want to do is cry and give up trying, I mean why bother right?

That is one path you could take but in reality, it won’t make the feelings of inadequacy disappear or make you feel any happier. So what’s the answer? Try harder? Possibly. But what happens if you’re maxed out and don’t have much in your reserves to put in more effort? Maybe there’s a third option that’s somewhere in the middle.

For me, gratitude and values are the things I am trying to turn to in times like this. I have a guided meditation by Jeff Warren that I do sometimes at night that focuses on finding one thing in your day that made you feel good. There is always something that you can appreciate no matter how crappy your day might have been. It might be a breeze in the trees, someone on the train that smiled and made you smile, or for me it’s often something innocent one of the kids did that was so genuine, only a kid could do it. Jeff asks you to remember that moment and relive how it felt and feel thankful for it. It pulls me out of the downward spiral of negative thoughts. The feelings are still there but they are not controlling me anymore.

Once I’m in a better place, I can more objectively look at what the basis of the things were that sent me into a spiral, see if there is any truth in them and think about whether my actions have been aligned with my values. A lot of the time, if I’m brutally honest, the reason I am so upset is there is a truth to the cause of others reactions, like how I have been communicating my frustration through anger or missing the priority task because I didn’t read the whole email, and no one likes to be wrong. We all have room for improvement and sometimes it can be hard to admit. That’s not to say you need to take everything on board and please everyone but by seeing what does and doesn’t align with my values, I can make adjustments where I believe they are worthwhile and possibly communicate better where I disagree.

Gratitude practice is one of the most amazing mood lifters, for me, it is up there with exercise, good companionship, and a great glass of red wine. There’s a lot of science behind it too, maybe with better effects than that glass of red. It can take a lot of effort to pull yourself out of the wallowing because it can feel righteous but it’s worth it. So next time you feel like the world is ganging up on you, try a little gratitude, and see how it might change your perspective.

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