[3 minute read] (ESL learners – click on the bolded words to see explanations and notes. Try the exercise at the bottom after! 🙂 )
First of all, to my readers learning English, I should clarify the word slump: a sudden fall. (So, a period where you have “low” or negative emotions).
But actually, this post isn’t just about those moments when you have a bad mood, or feel down. It can also help you when you feel stuck in negative thought patterns, are stressed, or are struggling with a particular emotional issue.
It’s something I heard on a podcast recently. And either by sheer coincidence, or a test from the universe, I immediately got an opportunity to put it into practice when a frustrating situation came up right after.
I was at the gym at the time, and got some bad news. I just wanted to get through the rest of my workout and have a good rest of the day.
So I tried out the technique that I had heard: doing a gratitude rampage.
As the name implies, this means you try to think of as many things that you’re grateful for as you can, in a minute or however long you want to give yourself.
There are of course big picture things you can easily think of: good health, caring family members, friends you appreciate, having a roof over your head, a stable income, etc.
But the great thing about this exercise is that instead of spending time meditating on just a few things, you try to go through as many of them as you can.
This means you’ll run out of the obvious things to appreciate, and you’ll have to reach past that to start finding gratitude in every nook and cranny of your life.
You’ll find yourself saying things like “I’m thankful for the blue color of the sky, I’m thankful for that tree with the cool shape, I’m thankful for the ground underneath my feet, I’m thankful for having the opportunity to be at the gym right now…”.
Suddenly, everything around you can be a source for gratitude.
This opens up your heart to positive energy, which obviously brightens your day already. One motivational coach once told me that humans cannot feel fear or anger at the same time as gratitude — so by engaging your mind in a gratitude rampage, you are forcing the negative feelings out, if only momentarily.
But it also helps you keep things in better perspective. There are people out there who might love to be at the gym, but can’t, because they don’t have access to one, or they can’t afford one, or they have an injury, or any one of a number of reasons.
We get used to things we have in our lives, which is normal and what helps us establish routines and habits. But this can easily slip into taking things for granted — which might also be normal (as in common), but it makes you pass up precious opportunities to feel the healing emotion of gratitude.
What do you think about this exercise? Do you agree with the thoughts shared by the podcast and the motivational coach? Let me know in the comments below!
ESL Notes (15 words / expressions)
Definitions written with reference to Cambridge Dictionary
Slump: a sudden fall or decrease. For example, a slump in prices means the prices suddenly go down. (Back to the text)
Feel down: feel sad. (Back to the text)
Sheer: pure, or complete. Sheer coincidence means it’s completely or 100% a coincidence. This word is often used with abstract nouns, such as “sheer nonsense”, “sheer coincidence”, or “sheer willpower”. (Back to the text)
Come up: happen, unusually unexpectedly. (Back to the text)
Get through: finish, usually with difficulty. (Back to the text)
Gratitude: the feeling of being thankful for something, or appreciating something. (Back to the text)
Rampage: violent or wild behavior. Normally this word has a pretty negative meaning. In the podcast, the speaker used it as a metaphor. It’s like you do so much gratitude, it’s almost violent or wild. (Back to the text)
Imply: say indirectly. (Back to the text)
Go through: “go through” can have many different meanings. In this case, it means something like to “complete” or “use”. Another way to say this sentence would be “you try to think of as many of them as you can.” Here are a few other examples with this kind of “go through”: “Before I gave up coffee, I was going through five cups a day.” And, “I went through five hundred dollars on my last trip to New York.” (Back to the text)
Run out of: to finish or use all of something, so you have none left. So if you run out of bread, it means you have no more bread left because you ate it all. (Back to the text)
Every nook and cranny: this is an expression which means “every part of a place.” Note that the words “nook” and “cranny” aren’t normally used separately — only together, in this expression. (Back to the text)
If only: Here this has the meaning of “even if this is the only reason/result.” So “you are forcing the negative feelings out, if only momentarily” means “even if it is only momentarily”. Here’s another example: ‘I think you should get a job, if only to have something to do.” In other words, even if the only result of getting a job is having something to do (and you don’t have any other results like money or experience). (Back to the text)
Take things for granted: if you take something for granted, it means you expect to have it, without appreciating it. (Back to the text)
As in: “meaning” or “this means”. This is used to explain or clarify a word that maybe readers or listeners could misinterpret, or not understand. (Back to the text)
Pass up: not use a good opportunity. For example, “I can’t believe she passed up the chance to go to South America.” (This means she had the chance to go to South America, but she didn’t take it). (Back to the text)
Want to start using these words and make sure you don’t forget them? Try this exercise! Think about these questions (discuss them with someone) or write down your answers, using the word or expression in your discussion or answer.
- Have you seen a slump in the price of anything lately? What about a slump in the demand for something?
- Do you tend to feel down during a particular season, or time of day?
- Do you think it’s possible for someone to become successful through sheer determination?
- When is the last time you had to cancel some plans you had because something unexpected came up?
- What helps you get through a bad day? (listening to music, having a coffee, talking to a friend, thinking about your family, etc.?)
- How much money did you go through on your last trip?
- What is the food or drink you most often run out of at home?
- When is the last time you did a really deep cleaning of your home, meaning you cleaned every nook and cranny?
- What is something you think a friend or family member should do? Make a sentence with “if only“. (For example: “I think Maria should get a job, if only to have something to do. She’s always complaining about being bored.”)
- Think about your life right now, and all the good things in it. What are some things you might be taking for granted? (for example, having a phone or computer to read this article, having access to internet, etc.)
- Have you ever passed up a good opportunity? What were your reasons for it?
Feel free to try writing some more sentences, or a text, of your own to practice some more.
Thank you for reading! These ESL notes, links and exercises each take several hours to make, so if you found this useful, the kindest thing you can do is to like the post, leave a comment, or share with anyone who needs it. Have questions about any other words? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to reply!