What if you started a gratitude practice? If you celebrated the lovely in the everyday?

I looked sure to have an awful day. I woke up bone-tired and in an awful mood. Who knows why? I ached. It was raining heavily. It was Monday. I trudged to the station.

And then, little things happened… a kind man offered me his seat. I really appreciated it. I needed it. I got to work and a woman gave me a compliment that made me smile. Sitting in my office, it was lovely to now be warm and dry with a cup of tea.

These things made me wonder if a little gratitude might turn my mood around… and it did. I had a good and calm day.

And that made me wonder. If I committed to a little gratitude practice every day, for several months, would it change me? What if I committed to it each night for 100 days? What might happen?

As I draft this, I’m two weeks into a gratitude journal. It’s probably too soon to comment. But I do have faith that it’s worth doing.

Brené Brown says that joyful people are grateful people. In The Gifts of Imperfection she reports that all of the people who described themselves as “joyful” had a gratitude practice. All of them. They deliberately practiced gratitude. They had rituals to record, notice, recognise and appreciate the good in their lives.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

  • Write three things you’re grateful for every night (or morning)
  • Take the 100 day gratitude challenge and post images
  • Say thank you often
  • Say thank you when things go right: when the train is on time, you get a seat, your feet stay dry in the rain….
  • Say a thank you prayer daily

Pollyanna and choice

For a while there, I noticed myself trying to be Pollyanna – everything is wonderful. That’s not it. You still want to feel what you feel. What the practice is showing me is how my choices make me feel.

I have a choice where to focus more of my attention and energy. Rehashing resentments feels horrible. Focussing on the good stuff feels… good.

Start where you are

I think once the energy is in your body, it needs to be felt and moved through with awareness. “Bad feelings” have messages too. It can be important to listen to them.

That doesn’t mean you want to keep building yucky energy with more crazy “negative nasties” thinking.

Start where you are. Feel it through. Then, make a new choice.

Just do it

A daily gratitude practice reminds you to just do it. Choose your focus, even when you don’t feel like it.

Be specific

Be specific. Where possible, bring it back to how other people make your life better. Maybe they built your home, drive the trains, give compliments, make the food you love. Be specific about the blessings – you may adore your best friend, but what especially reminds you of that today.

Maybe a gratitude journal is really about finding wonder and beauty. When you’re three years old it’s all an adventure. Find that again.

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