“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”Anonymous
Too Blessed To Be Stressed
The other day I was at the funeral for one of my uncles that passed away. During the funeral service the pastor was eulogizing my uncle, and right after he kind of went off on a tangent about life in general and its many blessings and that’s when he said something that’s been lingering in my mind for awhile; “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” I thought about it and realized his statement is thought provoking and would make a great blog post about the importance of gratitude.
What does “too blessed to be stressed” mean? – If you’re too blessed to be stressed, it means you’ve reached a point in your life that you are unaffected by negativity, hate and stressful forces that are around you. It does not mean you are blind and out of touch with real problems that need solutions. It simply means you have reached a certain peace of mind where you are untouched (so to speak) by external forces trying to destroy you emotionally and mentally. Gratitude plays a major role in getting you to that state of being as I’ll explain.
What it does not mean – The obvious thing a lot of people would think with regards to hearing the words “being too blessed to be stressed” is the illusion of security that having a lot of money can seemingly provide. And don’t get me wrong, having a lot of money can make quite a few things in your life easier, but it will not get you that certain peace of mind that I am talking about here. Many rich people seemingly have it easy in the minds of those of us who are not rich, but if you think this, then you are mistaken. In fact, high income earners are frequently the ones who have higher stress levels than lower income earners.
Gratitude – A crucial key to peace of mind
An important factor in being too blessed to be stressed is gratitude. Too often in life the average person is always looking for the next thing to “save” them. If only they could make more money, if only they could get that nice car, if only they can buy that bigger house, if only they can find their ideal partner, etc, etc. Many people out there are not satisfied with what they do have, and this causes much unhappiness in their lives.
When a person gets deathly ill and they don’t know if they are going to make it, they will find that suddenly all those non important, petty things they once worried about are no longer important. That person’s attitude has now been reframed to take stock and appreciate what really matters in life. And by the grace of God, when their health situation does turn around, they now have a new outlook on life. They will now have an appreciation about life they never had before. They now have a gratitude and thankfulness about being alive. They will be thankful for having friends and family, a roof over their head and other important, essential things that they once took for granted.
According to research, people who focused on and expressed gratitude generally felt happier about their life, had less trips to the doctor and have better relationships with those they care about. Gratitude is one way of positive thinking because you are focusing on what you have, the things you appreciate, etc, which is a positive thought process. Thinking about what you hate, what you don’t have, dwelling on what bothers you are negative thought processes. The positive thought process that gratitude helps provide will help you to feel less stress and anxiety. Less stress in your life leads to better well being.
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”Amy Collette
Generally speaking, God/the universe (whatever you chose to believe in) will more likely to reward you with more to be thankful for when you adopt this mindset. When you are gratuitous about what you have you are adopting a positive mindset which is good for lowering your stress levels as I mentioned earlier. Also, your interactions with people will improve because people generally like being around people who appreciate them. They will do more to help you because of that feeling of being appreciated.
Important keys to gratitude
Meditation – Meditation teaches you to be mindful, to focus on the NOW present which is important because focusing on the past, especially if your past is filled with allot pain will do more harm than good. Also, certain types of meditation will help you to see things about yourself, like being ungrateful, negative thinking you might have and other destructive things going on in your mind. Don’t underestimate the power of meditation to positively benefit your life, to be more grateful and help eliminate stress.
Acknowledge what you are thankful for in your life – Take time out of your day to really think deeply about anything and everything that you are thankful for. It might be hard at first, but there are probably at least a few things you can be thankful for when you really think about it. You should identify those things in your life you are thankful for, like those good things that happened in your life, the people in your life who were there for you and the ones who helped you. You can even be grateful for the bad things that happened that turned out well in the end and/or made you a better person. Some would advise to even write down the things you are thankful for, like a gratitude journal, which is a good idea.
Express your gratitude to others – You don’t want to wait till it is too late to tell someone Thank You and express your gratitude for whatever it is they have done for you and for them being there for you. In the future you may not get the chance to tell them if you don’t do it now. Research shows the act of thanking a person for their help or kindness has positive results for the person doing the thanking.
“No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”Alfred North Whitehead
Daily gratitude affirmations – I wrote about positive affirmations numerous times in past blog posts. Affirmations aren’t specifically gratitude related unless they are thankfulness affirmations that I wrote about in my blog post 6 Ways to be Thankful this Thanksgiving & Holiday season.
I would highly recommend doing daily positive affirmations anyway to help impact your life in a positive way. Positive affirmations can help counteract that negative self-talk that may be going on in your mind, causing you stress and anxiety and holding you back from the success you deserve. You can learn more about affirmations in my blog post What are Daily Positive Affirmations and Why You Want To Use Them.
But, there are other affirmations you may consider doing that can help you to be a more grateful human being; Thankfulness Affirmations. A gratitude, or thankfulness, affirmation is phrase of gratitude you repeat to yourself daily where you express your gratitude for the blessings you do have in your life. You are acknowledging what’s important and that you are thankful for it. You should recite your gratitude affirmations at least once a day to yourself, perhaps along with your other affirmations.
Some examples of gratitude affirmations:
1.) I am grateful for my health, my well being and vitality
2.) I am grateful for the people in my life who have been there for me and those who have 3.) helped me in some way
4.) I am grateful for making it this far in my journey through life
5.) I am grateful for surviving and making it through the tough situations I’ve been through thus far
6.) I am grateful for the roof over my head, my financial blessings and the wonderful people in my life
7.) I am grateful for every bad situation in my life that turned out good, for every bad situation I have learned from and gained wisdom, and every bad situation that made me a better person
This is definitely not a definitive list of gratitude affirmations, but it’s a good start. Feel free to come up with your own.
Play if forward – Chances are you probably would not have made it as far as you have in life if you hadn’t had someone being there for you, doing something to help you. So, one way to express gratitude, and gain some good karma, is to Play It Forward. Help someone out where and when you can. It could be a co-worker, a friend or family member, but it should especially be someone who has helped you in some way because that is another way of showing gratitude to them. Playing it forward by helping someone and you will be spreading good karma in the world that will definitely come back to you someday, in some unexpected way.
Learn about and/or help the less fortunate – In a similar intent to playing it forward, is helping those in your community who are less fortunate than you. I’m talking about people in homeless shelters or living on the street and those generally really down on their luck. This is something you might consider doing because every community needs people to volunteer at the shelters and other programs helping those in need. It won’t be easy for many of us to do this because it can be really disheartening seeing your fellow human beings with no money, a drug problem and maybe even with a mental health problem and begging for food. If you can stomach it, it will really help you keep what’s important in your life and keep it in focus. Do it because it is a good thing to do if you are able, and along the way you will gain a greater appreciation for what you’ve been given in life.
Look at the bright side – When things do go bad and you’re thinking negative thoughts, get into the habit of looking at the positive of the situation. In just about all bad situations, there is some positive aspect of it, even a little bit and probably some lesson to be learned. Learn your lesson from the negative and dwell on the positive. This goes to what I mentioned earlier about counteracting the negative thought process that goes on in the mind. Not all days are going to sunshine and rainbows, but if you look at the bright side of it, you’ll come out of it with you soul intact.
In a world that seems to be getting more depressing and negative everyday, it’s important to safeguard your mental and emotional health by having gratitude. Numerous life coaches as well as spiritual leaders often urge the importance of gratitude and now there is some science that shows gratitude do work. Gratitude will help you keep in focus what’s important, and it will also open you up for more blessings to come, so you can be one of the too blessed to be stressed.