It's time for me to spend a little more time than usual touting a daily gratitude practice. If you've been listening for awhile you know what I'm about to say but indulge me a little. Because I love you most!
I started doing a gratitude journal many years ago when Oprah started touting it. Because, yanno, if Oprah says to do it, I usually do it. I really didn't get much out of it after doing it for a number of years. Seriously! Then I realized I was doing it all wrong. If you are going to put the effort into a daily habit you may as well do it right. Here is what I was doing wrong. I was treating it as a chore. I hated doing it and therefore, it didn't do much for me. I would get to the end of the day and realize I still hadn't done it so I would write down anything just to get it done. And I would write silly things like, just got the dishes done. That's okay if you are truly grateful the dishes are done but there are much better things to be grateful for. Here is what I finally realized, you have to feel the gratitude while you are writing down your list. And it's not that hard.
I believe keeping a gratitude journal is three fold. Not only does it set you up to look for more things to be grateful for throughout your day, but you also get to relive those grateful moments while you are writing them down. When I write down I'm grateful that Tucker had fun on her walk today, I will remember her excitement at seeing the leash. Her rushing to the door to get out there. And the way her ears fly back as she charges down the street. It brings another smile to my face to remember it. And lastly, it can literally change the way you think about your life. I'm sorry if you have heard this story before but I love the example. I was folding my husbands many t-shirts one day, rumbling over how much I hate folding clothes. Suddenly it dawned on me that I didn't HAVE to fold my husbands t-shirts, I got to do it. If I wasn't married to this man putting me in the position to fold his t-shirts, I wouldn't get all the many benefits being married to him brings me. I'm sure you know he makes my coffee for me first thing every morning. Even when he is going to work he pushes the button before he walks out the door so I have a hot, fresh cup waiting for me when I emerge from the bedroom. So, I'm now grateful I get to wash this amazing mans shirts. I still don't necessarily like it but I would much rather fold his shirts than not have him in my life. It's the very least I can do for him, really.
If you are still hesitant to start a daily practice, I will attempt to make it as simple as possible to get you started. Just write down 3 to 5 things each day. Go back over the last 24 hours to look for things to write down. You can write big things or little things but you can't repeat things often. The point is to set your day up looking for more things to be grateful for because when you look, you will find it. It will seem tough at first as anything new does. Don't let it deter you! This is why I read my own entries to you every week so you can see how simple it can be. But if you are really struggling, give yourself 5 minutes to come up with three things. If you can't, then you are off the hook until the next day. Is 5 minutes a day too much to increase your happiness? I hope not. And when it comes to when you should do it; whenever you can do it. It's best to do it at the same time everyday but it really comes down to whenever you can get it done. I do mine in the morning and go over the previous days events that I'm grateful for. I'm an early bird though. If you are a night owl, then do it before bed. Or when you get to work everyday. Whenever you can fit it in.
I hope you seriously consider a daily gratitude practice even if you feel you don't need it. It is the number one thing that changed my outlook on life. It's so powerful when it is done right. I hope you give it a chance.
It's Monday, people. My favorite day of the week, after Friday, Saturday and Sunday! A brand new week full of possibilities and opportunities. Now go make the most of them while being your badass self. And as always, I'm cheering you on!