Turn Gripes into Gifts

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by Helena Popovic

Whenever I feel disappointed or encounter a painful or difficult situation, I play the Game of Gripes to Gifts. I ask myself: Even though I’m not feeling positive about this, what could be the GIFT in it? In other words:

What does this remind me to be Grateful for?

What does this Inspire me to do? eg to stop procrastinating, learn a new skill, reassess my priorities, be more patient, the list can go on …

What is this telling me to Focus on? I need to Focus on what I want, not on what I don’t want. 

What has this Taught me? About myself, about human nature or about life?

Grateful, Inspired, Focused and Taught form the acronym GIFT.

Yes, this is another Mind Game. The purpose of Mind Games is to switch on the parts of my brain that enable me to deal with a situation in the most effective and uplifting way. The brain loves games. The brain is invigorated by games. The brain seeks pleasure and wants to avoid pain. The brain associates games with fun, play and creativity. The brain wants to win games – so when you play the GIFT Game, your brain revs up to achieve a positive outcome.

I may not always be able to change or rectify what happened. And I don’t always come up with an immediate answer to each of the four questions. But I can always answer at least one of the questions and I always feel better for playing the game. Try it next time you feel like burying your feelings in a box of chocolate.

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