It’s been a weird week. In one 7-day period, I’ve heard more bad news than I care to know and have watched as aspects of my life, once established, begin the process of change. I’m definitely feeling the fear and frustration that all this uncertainty generates. Without a clear understanding of what to do, unsure if there is anything I can do, I’m doing the one thing most available to me to soothe myself: Offering gratitude for all that is my life… even the stuff that feels terrible right now.
Getting scared and anxious is natural when things go awry or you’ve heard information that challenges your sense of stability. We all want good news, joyful days and exhilarating experiences. Sadly, daily euphoria is not realistic and even the happiest and most successful people have rough patches. Going through hard times is part of life. These moments can either sideline you or help you grow. Your reaction predicts what will follow. It can also influence how long the discomfort will last.
I once had a client that wanted to heal her body from a host of inflammatory problems and lose weight. After discussing her diet and medical history, it became clear that she had a wheat intolerance, experiencing painful joint inflammation, indigestion and bloating after eating it. When I suggested she eliminate wheat as a starting point, she broke down in angry tears and accused me of wanting to ruin her social life and sense of fun through food. She loved to eat and her primary way of socializing was by dining out with friends. If she couldn’t eat wheat, how could she possibly participate?
I had compassion for her feelings, but her reaction surprised me. She was looking for advice on how to feel better, and I was offering it. Rather than feeling happy that there was a solution to her suffering, she reacted in anger, upset by a change she felt was monumental enough to destroy her social life.
It’s not my tendency though, to insist that my clients do what I suggest. Instead, I educate and explain so that they may better understand the science behind the recommendation. I also offer alternatives so that socializing and dining out are as wonderful as before. Ultimately though, I’m not in control of their health, they are. So when my client reacted so strongly, I gently told her that she didn’t have to do what I suggested. She could continue to eat wheat as long as she understood that in doing so her health concerns would continue. If she was okay with that, then I was too.
This made her cry more because she knew I was right. She had intuitively understood that wheat was a problem but couldn’t wrap her brain around the idea of living without it. She was blinded by her attachment. Realizing this, I asked her if she could perhaps feel grateful for the fact that we had found a starting point to her journey of wellness. Rather than fixate on wheat elimination, I asked her to focus instead on feeling good every day, not having uncomfortable and embarrassing gas after every meal, feeling more fluid and alive in her body. If she could harness the excitement that gratitude for a healthy future could provide, she might feel less anxious about the change.
It worked, as gratitude always does. By changing her focus from what she didn’t want, to feeling happy about the promise of what she did want and having a plan to get there, she changed her energy from anger to hope, frustration to excitement. Within a couple of weeks, her digestion was nearly 100% better, her joint pain was substantially diminished and she had lost a couple of pounds.
It can be challenging to sit in gratitude when you hear bad news or when things fall apart. Change is terrifying and gratitude can feel like a counter-intuitive response. But if you can practice gratitude for what you had, what you will learn, and the potential of what is to come, you win. And you feel better faster. The initial experience itself can feel awful, but something will come of it. What that will be, you do not know but staying in a space of appreciation will shape the way you respond and in turn, what will emerge from the ashes of what once was.
If you’re going through a difficult time and find it hard to cultivate gratitude, start small by writing down the 3 best things that happen to you every day. This practice gets you in touch with what is working in your life, and helps you see that even in darkness there is a little bit of light. This is a great tool to use every day, even when things are going well. But it’s particularly useful when things are in flux.
What do you think? Have you ever used gratitude as a way to help you out of a challenging situation or when managing your mood? What happened? In what way did gratitude help you? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
I hope you have a wonderful week and that the sun shines on you! 🙂 And know I am grateful for every single one of you!
Olive and Herb Scones!
Here’s a little treat for all of you out there working on eliminating wheat from your diet. Enjoy!
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1/8 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
- 3 tbsp mixed herbs, minced (I used fresh parsley and basil)
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- ¼ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- Preheat oven to 375’F
- Combine first four (dry) ingredients together and mix well, making sure to get rid of any clumps.
- Mix the next 5 (wet) ingredients together. Until well blended.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and blend to make a batter.
- Using ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop out batter and place on greased baking sheet or in muffin cup and press slightly to make it into a scone shape. Repeat until you have 6 scones.
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Mine took 22 minutes and then I shut off the heat and let them sit in the oven an extra few minutes.
- Remove from oven and place on wire baking tray to cool.
- Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil or with olive tapenade. You can also have them as a breakfast scone with scrambled eggs or sliced avocado. They are also delicious on their own! Enjoy!