being thankful… when you’re not.

When I moved three months ago, I went from living on the twelfth floor to the third. And the third floor happens to be one level above the underground parking garage for my building. This in itself is not that big of a deal. However, every few hours there is a large machine that ejects the carbon monoxide buildup that accumulates on the lowest parking level. The carbon monoxide from the cars parking underground could potentially build up and be dangerous if not for this regulating machine.

The only problem is that this machine happens to be loud. Obnoxiously loud. I call it the “LOST monster.” It makes two loud noises every three to four hours. All day. Everyday.

This means that I hear the noise 2-5 times a day without warning. And the potential for frustration and annoyance is sky high.

Fortunately, when I discovered the noise’s cause, I realized I should be thankful for the obnoxious sounds that interrupt my day without warning. It is saving my life and the lives of the drivers in the lower level of the parking garage.

I promptly decided that I would think of something I am thankful for every time I hear the LOST Monster.

What I’ve noticed after befriending the LOST Monster after three months is that the sound itself is no longer annoying or frustrating. Instead, the inconvenience is rendered neutral and I end up feeling more thankful throughout my day. What could have been indescribably annoying has impoved my appreciation for life.

I wonder how many other situations which irritate us on a daily basis could be turned into one of these life enriching practices. A traffic jam? A car honk? A siren? The time it takes for the computer to turn on?

It could have the potential to turn a negative into a positive.

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  1. Julie

    I used to commute to word every day in horrendous traffic. My 5 mile drive regularly took me 30 minutes. I started thinking of this extra hour (roundtrip) as my “me time” – time for me to rock out to music or ponder things that my day didn’t typically leave room for. I also realized that getting frustrated with the traffic was only hurting me. Now, I can be stuck in a traffic jam and I’m much calmer. It just doesn’t bother me like it does most people.

  2. Nicole

    “The time it takes for the computer to turn on” would definitely be mine! But this is a really great way to remember to be thankful – your alarm of thankfulness if you will. I love this idea and will start using it when waiting for the CTA!

  3. I just really loved this post. I don’t know why. Something about the positivity and the proof of a cognitive change technique you’re using to make your own mind a brighter place to be present in. I just loved it!

    ♥ Kristina, of Pretty Shiny Sparkly

  4. Brilliant idea. I have found that the more thankful I am, the more I find to be thankful about, and the less I feel the lack of what I don’t have.
    Thank you, Jess.

  5. Pilar

    thanks for posting this. i often get really frustrated with the garbage truck that interrupts my sleep right outside my first floor alley-facing bedroom window. i am, however, thankful for my apartment, and the person i share my bedroom with: my husband. 🙂

  6. Alexa

    It’s funny how this morning, my thoughts were headed in a similar direction. I woke up, took a look outside at the gray and gloomy weather and almost felt like declaring it was going to be a really bad day.

    But I consciously made the choice to find something positive about my morning (which was the inspiration I felt after reading through a couple more MML posts while I was eating breakfast) — and I ended up being pleasantly surprised by snow flurries when I walked out the door. It’s funny how life has a way of making you smile at the small things if you’ll let it. 🙂

  7. Shea

    This is genius! I’m going to try this when I get stuck waiting for a train, and countless other times something negative tries to impact my day. Thanks for this inspiration!

  8. Niki

    I got some harsh feedback from a client today that really took me for a loop at first but then I realized I could take that as an opportunity to get better at what I do! It’s hard to turn things we dislike around but I find I learn the best lessons from it.

    @nikimcneill

  9. Annie

    I’ve got get better at being grateful when I’m not… Traffic doesn’t really get to me, but lately I just seem to be more on-edge, and I know I need to have a better attitude. I think I’m going to try the “counting your blessings” technique and see how that helps me turn things around. Love your suggestion, as usual! 🙂

  10. Rose

    I read this post before I wen to run errands today. After having a bad experience which led to having to walk home for about an hour, I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t pissed for the first ten minutes, but then I started looking around where I was and realized that my walk home was surrounded by gorgeous trees, mountains and cute duckies in a pond. I remember your blog posts from this morning. I completely forgot that I was having a horrible day. I put all my focus on my surroundings. Let me tell you that I had a blast and ended up taking pictures with my phone, too. I was exhausted when I got home, but man what a wonderful adventure life threw at me today. Thank you for the wonderful posts as usual!

  11. Lisa

    Such a great perspective on an annoying situation! Thanks for the reminder to find gratitude even (especially) when I don’t feel like it.

  12. Kate

    My car, my perfect car, not too cool, not a POS, was recently stolen. This car also had several hundred dollars in cash (to take to the bank the next morning) and several hundred dollars of clothes to return (Black Friday returns) as well a few irreplaceable items like customized race gear and notes from friends.

    I am trying very hard to be optimistic as you say. Maybe something was about to go bad and hurt me, so the universe took the car away. Maybe the money is clothing poor children in Mexico.

    Sigh, it’s hard, but you’re very right, it’s the best way to look at a negative situation. Thanks for the reminder! I need it 🙂

  13. Chelsea

    This is inspiring me to find something annoying about my life, just to be thankful for something. This is lovely 🙂

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