There are three tenses related to our existence: past, present and future. Two of these can be highly emotionally charged while the other is devoid of stress and emotion. One has the power to enhance our life, while the other two distract our lives. Can you see the distinction? When you are in a state of gratitude, you are in the present—in the “now”.
Giving thanks and appreciating what you have in your life keeps you centred and reduces stress.
Contrary to this, past and future thinking may keep us in those emotional states that wear us down and even make us ill. We all have thoughts about the future or past, but it’s a matter of bringing balance to our thinking.
The past is our history. When we think of events in our lives, we experience regret, guilt, remorse, anger or just plain sadness. The older we become, the more extensive is our history and we can be more susceptible to these negative emotions. They become a drag on our lives. When we self-talk phrases such as, “I wish, I had…” or “I should have…”, we know that we are in the past. We believe that because of our actions we caused more pain than pleasure or more negative than positive.
The future is our mystery. We don’t know what is on the horizon. We can plan for the future but until it is experienced, it is an unknown. Thinking about the future can lead to fear and uncertainty. Self-talk starts with phrases such as, “I wish that…” or “I hope that…”. We believe that we are going to experience more pain than pleasure or more negative than positive.
When we are present, we are in the “now”. There is no stress or anxiety at that moment. We cannot live our whole lives in the present but to the extent that we do, we are able to function better and with purpose. We can achieve this state by having gratitude for what we have in our lives and appreciating each day. When we are grateful, we are balancing out the negativity that sometimes overwhelms us so that we can see things as they are, appreciating both the ups and downs of life.
So how do we get into a state of gratitude?
1. Each day tell your partner or family member that you love them, preferably first thing in the morning and then last thing in the evening. Make sure to do this daily; love is embracing both the positives and negatives about the person.
2. Write a list of what you are grateful for in your life, save it, add to it and read it regularly.
3. Do a regular meditation—even a short one—on what you appreciate in your life. Without gratitude and appreciation for your life, you are unlikely to receive more to be grateful for, so start implementing this powerful force today.
Dr Adele Thomas and Dr Ely Lazar are semi retired health professionals who are on a new mission as the Passionate Retirees. They are dedicated to inspiring the over 50’s to live fulfilling and adventurous lives.
Their first book, “Travel Secrets For Seniors”, was released in 2013 and they have also written an e-book, “7 Retirement Secrets Revealed”.