The Gratefulness Hack

We all know we should be grateful for what we have.

However, it’s so easy to forget. We get caught up in the craziness of daily life… something unexpected happens…someone cuts us off…we are late for work…our boss gives us a hard time…a friend gossips behind our back, etc. Sometimes we don’t even know why we feel sad or angry; and in those times the last thing we want to do is write a list of ten things we are grateful for.

Many times, it can be just one negative thought or memory we play on repeat like a broken record and every time we think about it, we feel like crap anew.

In hypnosis, we use a term called pattern interrupts, which break through negative thought loops. A strategy that I have found helpful is what I’d like to call “the gratefulness hack”. The second I notice a negative thought or memory of a painful experience arise, I interrupt the thought with ONE thing I am grateful for. If you can’t think of anything, just choose something super simple, like the fact that you’re still breathing. Remember the last time you had a sinus infection or a cold and reflect on how awesome it is to just breathe for a second. Sometimes I will also remind myself what I’ve learned from the difficult experience. Using this technique for even just one moment can help you avoid the negative mind loop.

When you make this technique a habit, your brain will start to rewire itself toward the new pattern. It will become automatic, so that every time you think about a painful memory, your mind will instantly be triggered towards finding something you are grateful for.

I won’t lie, this will take practice to become automatic. However, our brains love habits and once you set this into motion, you will be on your way to letting go of negative thoughts/memories much more quickly and painlessly. Feeling shame, guilt, anger and sadness is one thing, but wallowing in these emotions as if they are on repeat does nothing for you but keep you feeling miserable. When you catch and reverse your negative thoughts early, you can take back control of your emotional state, which will re-direct your actions and your whole life.