James, what is the number one thing you do every day without fail (except sleep and write and eat) –@jfkesq
Without fail, I will always list the things I am grateful for. And I will try to make the list different (additive) each day.
Why? This is the one surefire way to crowd out negative thoughts. For example, people I hate, things I’m anxious about, things I regret, things I wish I were doing. If I stop myself and say, “I’m grateful for X, Y, and Z.” Then tomorrow I’m grateful for “A, B, and C”. Then the next day, “D, E, and F” then I start to build a big list of things that can crowd out the already big list of negative things I can choose to think about.
Is this avoidance of some sort? Maybe it’s important to think about things I’m anxious about. Maybe. But I’d rather not be anxious anyway. I’d rather just pay the check than be anxious about it. Or make the call than be anxious about the reaction on the other side. Gratitude is a great tool for replacing just about any other negative thought. And this, in turn, increases your time to think productive and useful thoughts. More on this in a future post.