Our minds have a natural negativity bias. With so much going on in our country and the world now, the mind has lots of material to latch onto and dwell on.
If you are not familiar with him, this a great time to become acquainted with the gratitude teachings of Brother David Steindl-Rast. He is also a Zen teacher. His gratitude practice is more than a list of things like “I’m grateful for my health”, “I’m grateful for my friends”, etc.
All that is fine but Brother David teaches us to “Every day, find one thing that you’ve never been grateful for before”. Small moments, like the way the morning light looks, the wonderful smile you received when you said good morning to someone. When you notice it, stay with it.
Your mind begins to look for these precious moments all day long. It starts stringing them together until we become a more mindful, grateful person with a more balanced outlook.
This is similar to a concept I learned during my training to become a solution – focused therapist. We looked for exceptions to the problem, what is going well for the client, and amplified those ideas.
We can’t control everything that’s going on in the external world. However we can change our internal dialogue and teach our brains to see the good. If you want to learn more about Brother David Steindl -Rast and his teachings, he has written many books including “Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness” and “May Cause Happiness: A Gratitude Journal From the Teachings of Brother David Steindl-Rast”.