Posts Tagged ‘ perspective ’

Gratitude

I love to complain.

As a human being, I think this is a pretty common condition.

Since I don’t want turn into a sour person as I age, I’ve been working on complaining less, and telling funny stories more. But to convert a whiny complaint into a funny story requires a combination of perspective and time.

Even on my worst days, my life is good. In perspective, I have nothing to complain about, even if work was irritating, I got rained on, had no food to eat, fell off my bike, and got scratched by a cat.

Perspective is a weird thing. It only really works if you combine it with gratitude.

What point is it to acknowledge that other people have it so much worse than you if you can’t be grateful for the things that are better about your life?

(“Oh, I know there are people who have to walk five miles a day for drinking water, but this is AMERICA and I shouldn’t have to take a cold shower, like, EVER.”)

For the last several weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed at how incredibly lucky I am. This season of life is amazing. It has its ups and downs, like any season of life, but really, who am I to complain?

I live in an incredible city, have amazing jobs, co-workers, friends, and family. Every day, my life could be so much worse, and it isn’t.

That’s all, really. I’m grateful for my life and the people who are a part of it.

Here’s a cool photo of Portland for you.

Sunset on Hawthorne.

Sunset on Hawthorne.

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Stress.

I am naturally and unfortunately inclined to stress out pointlessly. I think everyone has a bit of that inclination at one level or another, but since anxiety disorders are something that my family has historically dealt with, my tendency to stress over stress has always been rather acute.

At a pretty young age, after I experienced my first panic attack, I learned some strategies to keep my anxiety from overwhelming me. Mostly I learned controlled breathing and distraction techniques.

The older I get, though, the less easily I am distracted from worrisome things. I recently realized that distraction probably isn’t a very healthy tactic, anyway.

Distracting myself from my stressors is like putting a band-aid on a mosquito bite. It ultimately makes the stressor itch more, and I eventually tear off the band-aid and scratch the itch until it bleeds.

Lately, my technique has been rather different.

Instead of simply looking away from the mosquito bite of a stressor, I instead focus on it. Will this matter in ten years? I ask myself.

And suddenly, perspective!

Very few things that I pointlessly worry about will matter in ten years.

So then I go down the line. Will it matter in five years? Nope. A year? Unlikely. A month? Possible, but doubtful.

Perspective for everyone!

Right now is the only moment that you have. Why waste it stressing about the past or future?

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