A short while ago, I was going through a difficult time in my life. Every day seemed worse than the previous. I kept wondering “when will it end? When will I catch a break? When will I be happy?”
I was still reading all of the wonderful blogs I read today, looking for something that would help. Of the many websites I’d visit and read discussing self improvement and growth, something called a ‘gratefulness journal’ kept popping up. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. Just another thing to add to my morning routine.
By this time, I’d tried many different variations of morning routines and not many of them had stuck. Trying this gratefulness journal seemed like another thing to try…why not right? After all, things couldn’t get any worse BECAUSE of this right? And somewhat of an optimist, I figured it was worth a shot.
Strategically I decided to start the following morning because then I would have a day to reflect back on (I say strategically because I think it was a sneaky way to procrastinate until then). I decided that having AT LEAST ONE thing that I was grateful for would be a good goal to start.
The first day that I sat down to write, I found myself at a loss for words. What was I grateful for from the previous day? I really had to think…
Now, at first I thought that there wasn’t much to be grateful for because the previous day had been hard. All I could think about was how the internet had just kept cutting out, or how some of my files had imploded and reached new levels of high conflict….But then a few little things came to mind:
– sitting down to relax and realizing I didn’t have to cook (dinner was made the night before)
– a hilarious email a friend had sent
– a client thanking me for handling the chaos that had unfolded
Little things. It was all little things. But these little things stood out as diamonds in the rough. So I wrote them down.
A month went by and I had stayed true to my word and written down at least one thing to be grateful for every day. I noticed that every day it became easier to appreciate all things I had to be grateful for…so much so that there were days where I found myself making long lists (some of which were repeats, but that had made me smile the day of).
My attitude also began to slowly change. I found that when things in the day were going rough, little things would stand out more. It was easier to focus on them instead of dwelling on the negatives. Day by day, this practice of gratitude became easier and easier.
Today, things aren’t much ‘easier’. But I find myself much happier than when I originally started the gratefulness journal. Rather than extending a 5 minute bad happening to an entire day, I find myself instead extending something short and sweet to keep me motivated throughout the entire day.
The gratefulness journal is one of my favourite morning routines, and although I’ve changed my routine up here and there, the journal has still remained. A few months ago, I also added a ‘daily lesson’ section where I would quickly jot down some wisdom the day have brought. Many of those, I share on twitter every morning at 7am.
So take a moment and pause. Right now. Take one minute to close your eyes and discover at least one thing you have to be grateful for. Maybe it’s the smell of coffee. Maybe it’s someone who smiled at you. Maybe it’s just the fact that you have a home to go to, family to hug, or people who care for you. Whatever it is, appreciate it, and be grateful for it.
There is much to be grateful for these holidays. There’s no time like the present to express and appreciate some gratitude. Whatever you are doing this holiday season, take a moment to pause and reflect. If you can, write it down. Collect the little things that you have to be grateful for.
In a world where so much can throw us off our grooves, this collection of gratefulness can really bring light to our lives. At least it did for me. It’s worth a shot…right?
Wishing you, your families, and loved ones, a happy holidays, with many many things to be grateful for!