Take a moment to reflect on this morning. What was your first thought when you awoke? If you are like many people, it was, “I did not get enough sleep last night.” It is also likely that your last thought as you prepare to go to sleep each night is, “I did not accomplish enough today.” If you are frequently beginning and ending most days with these “not enough” thoughts, you might have difficulty engaging in positive thinking throughout each day. Your thoughts about all the things in your life that are “not enough” may lead to feeling that you are not enough.
Our culture is filled with messages that feed this “not enough” mindset. There are expectations that in order to be enough, you have to be the best, work the hardest, and achieve the most. This idea that the ordinary is not enough cultivates dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
Replacing your “not enough” thinking with positive thinking will improve your satisfaction and feelings of happiness. This process starts with a shift in perspective.
Circumstances have a lot less control over your emotions than you might realize. Your emotions, including feelings of happiness, are closely connected to your thoughts. Positive thinking leads to positive emotions. A key to increasing positive thinking about yourself and your experiences is gratitude.
Gratitude is more than saying, ‘thank you,’ to a stranger for holding the door open. Gratitude is a state of being – a lifestyle. Living in a state of gratitude means recognizing that you do have control of your thoughts and choosing to trade in your, “not enough” thinking, for “enough” thinking. Gratitude is choosing to say, “this is good, because…,” or, “I am doing well, because…”
Mindfully choosing to practice gratitude will increase contentment, reducing “not enough” thinking which traps people in shame and feelings of inadequacy. Gratitude provides freedom from feelings of shame and inadequacy and allows you to begin thinking positively about yourself and your circumstances.