Thanksgiving is over, and now is the time that we tend to start getting overwhelmed with all of the stress and excitement of the Christmas season. After focusing on what we’re thankful for, it tends to get pushed aside as we tackle the shopping, to do lists, and parties. Not this year! This year I’m choosing to continue this practice of gratitude.
I’m choosing to incorporate gratitude daily into my life. The fact is that, no matter what unfortunate and painful events we have going on in life, there are SO many things to be thankful for in our life as well. Gratitude isn’t meant to negate the bad things that are going on (it’s important that we own our entire range of emotions and experiences in order to be a happy person and we don’t need to be fake about our reality), but gratitude balances our negative experiences. Gratitude allows us to recognize the blessings and the little things in our life, even though we have pain and struggles as well. It’s about keeping the good and the bad balanced so we stay healthy.
In that vain, I’m planning to start a gratitude journal. It’s something I’ve recommended to clients, and for those who have done it, it has been very helpful. Gratitude is like a muscle that we have to work out over and over so it becomes stronger. I’ve been focusing on building the muscle throughout the year, and have loved the results so far.
Once you’ve picked out a notebook or a journal specifically for gratitude, pick a number for the things you will list each day (i.e. “I will write 3 things I’m thankful for every day). Try not to repeat items.
Start with the things that are simple. “I’m thankful for fresh water, food, the grocery store, heat,etc…” Think about the things that you enjoy doing, and what you’re thankful for within those things “I’m thankful for feet to carry me through the miles that I run, I’m thankful for my bike pump that allows my tires to be filled, etc…”. Think about the people, situations, and experiences in life, and write about those as well.
The more we build up the muscle of gratitude and allows ourselves to sit in the experience of gratitude each day, the stronger we get and the easier it is to tap into those things we are thankful for throughout the day. You’ll be doing something that is healthy for yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
So who is with me? Are you ready to commit to a regular practice of cultivating gratitude in your life?