The Energy of Appreciation

This week, I’ve been feeling pretty burned out. At first I didn’t know why I was so burned out, because the fact is that I haven’t been pushing myself particularly hard. Usually if I feel burned out, it’s because I’ve been trying too hard to keep to a tight schedule while pushing myself to explore new avenues of growth. I’ve given up on keeping myself occupied with two hands full of busy-ness. It was quite awhile back that I decided one hand full was enough. But these few days, if anything, I am lazed out. I consistently don’t feel like doing anything, and I’m as lazy as my kitten when he climbs onto his nap basket. I feel that I’m just heavily de-energized, drained, and uninspired. I remembered reading from Puttylike (check out Emilie’s awesome blog if you haven’t) that gratitude was a powerful energy. So if anything, I’ve designed a few tricks to keep myself going strong even in this weather. Oh yes, I blame the weather. It’s been too rainy, cold and dark-skied recently. I guess the gloom does kill your mood. But fear not! With this arsenal of exercise for to do, I will kill the gloom and raise my mood.

Let me share with you the 5 exercises that can help you re-focus your awareness on the good things:

1) The Digit Thank You

As a light warm up to get my gratefulness engine started, I count off as many thing I can be thankful for as I have digits. Some of you have 6 fingers, some have 4 toes, it doesn’t matter. Go for it 😀 They can be as simple (or mundane!) as “I’m grateful that I woke up this morning”, because things like that actually get us back on the right track, i.e. “Hey we woke up this morning, and there’s a whole day of great opportunities ahead of us, so let’s wipe that frown off our faces!” Don’t worry if it’s short or simple, or even if it sounds mundane. Your appreciation will turn the ordinary to the extraordinary. And furthermore, this is just the very beginning…

2) The Golden Turn-Around

Now, if you’re feeling down at all, chances are there’s one of more things bugging you (weather aside). Name the biggest thing that’s getting you down and take some time to consider fully why on earth is it bugging you so much. Definitely expect a lot of negativity to come forth. After all that, take a deep breath, and focus on all the good things that you can gleam from that particular issue or circumstance. Remember, dwell only on the good things. There was a time for the bad stuff, and now is the time for the good stuff! Look for the silver lining, and think of how you could possibly turn the situation around, or how this issue could teach you far more about yourself, or about reality, than you thought it could at first. Grab the gold out of it; there’s always some gold in everything.

3) The Deep Appreciation

You’re warmed up, you can envision the bad day being turned around, and you’re in for the real deal. Now think of one person, just one person, it can be anyone, and concentrate all your appreciation power on him/her. Consider all of that person’s good attributes, everything that he or she has done for you over the years, and let your heart overflow with sincere gratitude. Even if the person has done something mean to you that you cannot forget, forgive. To err is human. This exercise is meant to also help you accept others and yourself as imperfect, which makes life far less harsh are far more worth living. Spend some time looking for the positives and let your heart respond to it. You’ll be surprised at how much your attitude and emotions would have changed by now, especially if this person was someone you could not forgive for a long time. You’ll be filled with compassion and appreciation, and that is truly empowering. It may or may not affect the way you react to the person in future, so don’t feel pressured. Let your heart be filled with good thoughts and the rest of you will follow.

4) The Beauty Walk

If you’re very busy, or travel a lot, you’d love this. You can do this anytime – walking to work, sitting on the bus, driving to the airport – anywhere, anytime. Most of us might be tempted to worry when travelling, it’s a common past time. Instead of indulging in our anxious thoughts, let’s try to look out for something beautiful that we can appreciate. Perhaps its the sunlight reaching out to warm you up from behind the tree leaves, or the hummingbird that fluttered by without a care in the world, or that beautiful smile on your neighbour’s face; anything that’s beautiful and praise worthy, let it occupy your thoughts and your heart. Imagine the essence of that beauty, in its pure and pristine form entering your soul and transforming it, renewing it. Sometimes the darkness of fears and anxiety cannot be forgotten, but a single candle of light, with its beautiful and earnest flame, can dispel darkness easily. Likewise, focusing on positive thoughts and beautiful things can completely change your attitude  and emotions for the day, leaving a valuable ripple effect of positive change to reach out and touch everyone around you.

5) Breathing Gratitude

The day is over and it’s been tiring, or perhaps re-energizing for you (depending on what you’ve been up to), but it’s been a blast either way because you’ve been keeping your thoughts on the positive and your mood up. To end off, find a quiet place, and sit down or lay back, and just breathe. That’s right, breathe. Breathe slowly, breathe deeply, breathe into your belly. You may be surprised at how you neglect this basic act throughout the day when you get caught up with various activities. Get down to the basics and breathe. For every breathe, let your whole being be grateful. Be grateful for every breath, be grateful that for every good thing that happened today, be thankful for the bad things even because remember, there’s some gold in everything. Breathe in gratefulness, and breathe out thankfulness. Be full of it, there’s never too much when it comes to being grateful. Be grateful for life.

After I count my blessings, I feel rich and full of energy to give away. Never under-estimate the power of appreciation, it’s always accessible and it’s always transformative!

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