Problems. We all have them, and it seems each day adds more to the collection. Life is full of unique obstacles and challenges wherever we turn, and whatever we do. Sometimes we become overwhelmed trying to manage all the problems that arise, but what if we could avoid that by changing our perspective? We can, by finding gratitude for those problems and welcoming them as a natural part of life.
There are many ways to react to life’s problems. The three main reactions I see are refusal, victimhood, and acceptance: we can refuse to accept the reality and say “this can’t be happening to me”, we can take a victim stance and say “how can this be happening to me”, or we can accept that problems are simply an unavoidable fact of life and learn to work around them. Reflect on how you tend to mentally handle problems that arise, it likely changes based on the situation and type of problem.
I’ve been working on not only accepting that problems are part of life, but also finding gratitude for each problem that comes my way.
Why am I grateful? Well, if there were no bumps on the road, how could I possibly learn to stable myself and stay balanced through the roller coaster of life?
Adversity gives me the opportunity to work on maintaining a calm perspective on life. It allows me to build equanimity. Which is, in my opinion, invaluable. Equanimity is a profoundly steady, calm, and balanced state of mind which is unshakeable by stress, adversity, or anything else for that matter. I am grateful for life’s problems because they give me the opportunity to practice equanimity and develop other areas of personal growth.
The first step to building equanimity is making a shift in perspective: from being annoyed that a problem is there to being grateful for the opportunity the problem provides. The act of finding gratitude naturally shifts my perspective – in order to find gratitude I have to look at the problem differently.
Inevitably, problems will arise that really irritate and frustrate me – this is good! Those are the types of problems that really off balance me, and so they provide the greatest opportunity to practice staying calm and balanced. When a problem really pisses me off, the idea is to mentally pause and change course – to stop reacting that way and start looking for gratitude.
As I look for and find gratitude, I can feel a distinct change in my mind – it naturally calms me down and builds contentment. When I actively look for things to be grateful for, I find them and it makes me happy. I can literally feel my body relax and loosen up in response.
There is always something to be grateful for, even if it is as basic as the opportunity to experience something at all – Brother Steindl-Rast gave an amazing TED Talk where he talks about finding gratitude for each given moment as the direct path to continuous happiness.
Even things that seem bad can have good effects – understanding this will make finding gratitude easier. I encourage you to reflect on this idea and look upon the events of your life from this alternate perspective. Go and find the good that has come from the bad in your life.
To change your relationship with problems and build equanimity, begin by observing how you mentally react to problems now. Take time to reflect on the types of problems you’ve been facing and how you’ve been mentally dealing with them. Write all these reflections down in a journal, and continue to observe yourself as you go about your day to day activities. When problems arise, work on catching yourself before you get too worked up – pause, and then shift your perspective to find gratitude.
I’m an Empowerment Coach here to help you expand your potential by releasing limitations that are holding you back.
Integrity Health is a franchise company residing in New Hampshire. We specialize in health coaching centers combining fitness with weight loss to optimize and promote optimal health. We are also the national purveyors of the EZCOACH Fitness Prescription System licensed by fitness professionals.