Have you ever started a Gratitude Journal, with the very best of intentions, and then it didn’t stick? I sure have. I’ve been trying to keep that habit since the Oprah days, wayyyy before I had kids, and I’m about to have a 15 year old! I just felt like sometimes it was forced, so I gave it up. But here’s what I continue to learn.
GRATITUDE CREATES THINGS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR
I’m embarrassed to say, that it took til my mid 40’s, to realize that having an attitude of gratitude, and acknowledging the things we are grateful for, is just the start. No matter how small those things we are thankful for are in the beginning, they have the power to turn into big things. Like a snowball gathering strength and speed as it rolls down a hill.
WHAT I USED TO THINK OF TOO MUCH GRATITUDE
I don’t know if this resonates with anyone reading this; but I used to get a little annoyed with people out there who were just soooo grateful. Eternal optimists. “No Bad Days”. I was like, really? REALLY? This is not reality and I don’t feel like you can force gratitude. So it had me thinking even MORE pessimistic thoughts, which surely never helps.
Find the things to be grateful for when you are in a super pissy mood, and it will help? Yeah right. Write down five things that you are really glad to have in your life when shit has just hit the fan in work, relationship, plans, etc? You might as well have told me to pretend like the bad isn’t happening, so sweeping it under the positivity rug is the solution. UGH, no! You have to face the negativity and acknowledge the glass is HALF EMPTY…..
EXCEPT YOU DON’T
What I have found, is I often resisted finding what I could to be grateful for, so I could sit in the negativity of the situation longer. Especially when I was going through post partum depression after having my daughter. It felt easier, more comfortable, more real; but the R E A L I T Y is, focusing on the negative for too long, takes all the goodness we are surrounded by away from us. If we are so busy wanting what we just can’t have in this moment, we lose sight of everything we do have.
Tony Robbins says, that you should spend 10% of your time thinking about the problem (laying it out, understanding what went wrong, etc) and 90% of our thoughts coming up with solution. Put your hand up if you have had it backward? I know I have.
I’ll admit, while I know gratitude is important, I just felt like people who focused on it, were just putting blinders on to real life so they didn’t have to feel or acknowledge the crap. Turns out, what you put out is what you attract. Maybe there’s a reason we are being put through these struggles we just can’t even see right now.
NO WONDER THEY WERE HAPPIER
So when you focus on what you are grateful for, (even in the face of obstacles, shortcomings or, as a negative mindset would say, failures), it brings more things to light to be grateful for. Turns out, when your mindset is programmed to be looking for the positives, the upside, or the glass being half full (whatever you want to call it), that is what you will see. It takes some practice! You can’t do it once and expect change. Just like you can’t go to the gym once and expect strength. This takes consistency and making it an important part of your routine.
BEST TIME TO START YOUR GRATITUDE JOURNAL WAS YESTERDAY…..
And the second best time to start it is now. You can get yourself a fresh new notebook, or you can add it to your notes on your phone. Whatever you do, WRITE IT DOWN. Don’t just think it. The act of taking it from a thought to written word allows you to really acknowledge that this is something you are thankful for.
And it doesn’t have to be profound or earth shattering. It could be as simple as finishing that whole cup of coffee while it was still hot. Your husband taking over dinner duty. Your teenager came and gave you a hug without being asked. The sun was shining just perfectly on you while you enjoyed afternoon tea. Or the big things. Your sister’s biopsy came back clean. Your dad recovered from COVID19 and is going home. It can literally be the smallest thing, or the biggest thing. And everything in between.
THE LITTLE THINGS ATTRACT BIG THINGS
Like I said earlier, it is like a snowball going down a hill gathering speed and size. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. How do you create an abundance of things to be grateful for in your life? Start by being grateful for a few. How do you attract more? Tell the universe you are ready for it, by owning and living through, an attitude of gratitude.
I’d love to encourage you to start a gratitude journal and commit to writing in it for 5 minutes every morning for the next 21 days. Three weeks of starting your day that way, and just see what happens. You might realize you feel happy and you don’t quite know why. You might realize you were able to work through an obstacle way quicker, because you were looking for solutions instead of glorifying the problem. And best of all, you might start to model how a gratitude journal can improve your outlook, to those in your household. Mama, our kids are always watching!
Among all the things I’m grateful for, you being here, is always on my list. Thank you for reading along!