Noisy people. Noisy places. Clutter. Messy minds. My messy mind.
In a mostly extroverted, non-HSP world these are the things I try to mitigate on a moment-to-moment basis and it used to be easy for me to fall into the habit of feeling frustrated.
But I eventually learned there’s one thing that centres me, that seems to help me the majority of the time.
Practicing gratitude every morning.
Reminding myself how much I have to be grateful for.
Reminding myself of all the ways my HSP Trait enriches my life.
Because my trait allows me to cultivate moments where I experience an overwhelming feeling of joy, an overwhelming sense of peace, an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder about something as simple as the shape of a cloud.
I’ve used gratitude in an upside down way I suppose.
Now that I know the ways I’m different from about 80% of the population – how I process information, how I pick up on information easily, how I problem-solve, how I enjoy the company of those who I share the trait with, why I’m drawn to and appreciate anything creative, my ability to appreciate and read the facial expressions animals and people and so much more – I’ve been using this information to cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude.
Learning how often, how to and when to say “no” to people and activities has also increased my gratitude. I’m grateful for the opportunity to say “no”. Grateful for the choices I’m offered daily.
These choices have given me more time for the people and activities that allow me to get into that creative zone I love being in and increase my sense of gratitude even more.
Practicing gratitude has become my magical elixir, an elixir that gets more potent over time.
It’s also become my measuring stick for how I’m doing in a moment. If I’m feeling frustrated it’s becoming easier for me to notice that I’m feeling frustrated, step back and observe the choices I’m being offered in that moment.
I begin my morning gratitude session by creating a ritual around it. I ready the space I’m about to practice gratitude in, I ready myself.
Once I’m ready to begin I begin by pulling air through my nose deeply into my lower stomach and then up into my lungs. Then releasing that air and repeating this until I feel calm.
I adopted this method when I tried the One Great Mind app.
Even if it seems like I feel calm beforehand, once I do this I notice I actually do feel calm.
Then I focus on all my senses. On silently being grateful for what I’m smelling, sensing, feeling, tasting, hearing and more, and I do this with a light touch, a noticing and then a releasing.
Then I allow myself to just “be”. To not think.
This is a gift of self-love, self-acceptance and self-compassion I give to myself.
I’m so used to “thinking” so giving myself the opportunity to “not” think allows me to be grateful for the opportunity to “just be” without any expectation that something must be a “result” of this activity.
No, I don’t expect good things to come from practicing gratitude, like, because I’m doing something “good” I’ll be rewarded.
The practice is the reward. The ‘being able to hold space for myself without any expectations’ is the reward.
I’m also finding the more adept I become at holding space for myself, the better I’m able to hold space for others.
Sometimes a creative thought will float to me after or during the gratitude practice, sometimes a pull to connect with someone for a specific reason, but most times it’s an intense feeling of peace.
Does this feeling overwrite the overwhelming sense of depression I may be experiencing? No. For me it doesn’t.
But it does show me that others have passed before me, others who have found their way, and maybe finding the way is just the knowing that underneath it all, there is so much to be grateful for.
Do you practice gratitude? If so, how do you practice it?