Stressed? Adopt An Attitude of Gratitude

I’ll admit, over the past few weeks I’ve been stressed. I mean, each day in retrospect has been fine… but in the moment I’ve really been overwhelming myself.

I had to stop and ask myself, why?

It can be easy for me to let stress take a hold of me and for my mind to run away with what-ifs.

Why does my mind always do this?

  • Perhaps it’s a learned behaviour from my parents.
  • Perhaps my brain is wired for stress from past experiences.
  • Or I’ve been so used to the presence of stress that I feel the need to create it when it’s not there.

A stress-filled, run-away mind is a very real problem for a lot of people.

Doing this has a very real, physiologic response in your body. It can affect mental health, relationships, motivation, heart rate, digestion and immune function.

If this becomes a pattern in your everyday life… it can have a serious impact on your overall health, happiness, and productivity.

When the world (or your world) feels like it’s falling apart

Here’s the thing… it’s probably not.

Yes, there has been lots of world news focusing on weather disasters, terrorism, and war… but is the world falling apart? Or are there just some pockets of people who need help?

The same is true for your own personal world. Our current stress can be perceived as overwhelming.

Ask yourself how you are perceiving your stress… and if you have a plan and systems in your life to deal with it. If the answer is no, keep reading.

Fear and anxiety exist in a place outside the present

Unless you’re actively being chased by a wild animal… or are in a war/disaster zone… then fear and anxiety about world crisis, your current life situation, or even your health is taking you out of the present moment.

The present is where life happens, where decisions are made and where work is done.

The present is your chance to deal with your stress head on by taking action to create the life you want (and deserve).

Dwelling on fear, anxiety and stress, whether inside you or in the outside world, takes you out of the moment, takes you off the ball, and actually causes more destruction in your day-to-day life.

Fear, anxiety and stress can paralyze you from making key decisions in your life, taking action on problems which need to be solved, or on improving your health.

Where in your life does overwhelm exist and why

As you’re feeling these emotions and wasting your essential energy… catch yourself.

Ask yourself if you are being overcome with overwhelm about a situation which does not exist now?

The number of situations you could be fearful of is numerous. And there’s lots of potential for your mind to really get away from you… taking you to places in your thoughts you may not have thought existed.

At the very least, stressing about these situation is taking your focus off your actual priority in the present moment.

  • As a deadline approaches, worry stops you from doing what’s necessary to finish your project
  • Avoiding disagreement with a family member, colleague or client let’s the negative thoughts and emotions stew for even longer
  • Worrying about a promotion or whether you got into school is completely out of your control and a reflection of the work you put in months and years prior to the present moment. Either trust your past self or start doing the necessary work to earn your spot.
  • If you know you can’t pay your bills, what can you do today to solve that problem? Can you get a job, help out a friend, start a business, or apply your skills in a profitable way you may not be doing currently?
  • Violence and natural disaster is another area where as individuals, we may not be able to do much. What we can do is love our families, show strangers compassion, show up in our relationships and really listen to other people.

Mother Theresa said it best…

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”Mother Theresa

Gratitude exists as a check and balance on stress, fear & anxiety

When I get overwhelmed, fearful, anxious or stressed… there’s one thing I do.

I close my eyes, take 3 deep breaths, and then list what I’m grateful for in my life.

It sounds easy… maybe even a bit cheesy… but it really changes the physiology of your body, stops the sympathetic stress response in it’s tracks and allows your brain to refocus on reality.

Once you make the switch to gratitude, your mind will start reframing everything to a positive.

If you are currently wired for stress, fear and anxiety, it will take time to master this process… you may even need a reminder, such as asking a close friend or your partner to identify when you get into your stressed state (cough… cough… Dr Thea, thanks for the constant support).

Gratitude may be great… but what does it get me

Being able to remove yourself from your regular pattern of stress will allow you space (in your mind) to actually accomplish what is truly important to you.

When you break the pattern of stress, you can refocus and even reimagine your life.

Constant stress and worry can create more stress and chaos in your life. Part of living an extraordinary life is knowing where you stand with yourself.

Knowing your purpose and values will help you make better decisions and can truly change your current reality.

Join us at Think By Design to begin crafting the extraordinary life you deserve.


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Dr Brian Lanoue is a Life By Design Chiropractor, blogger and speaker on achieving extraordinary health. It is Brian’s passion and mission to empower you, your family and your community to live extraordinary lives. Brian co-owns The Powerhouse Chiropractic in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada with his partner Thea.