It’s almost the end of February, the days are getting longer and the garden’s starting to grow.
You think it’s time to be more optimistic and positive but you can’t quite summon up the enthusiasm.
I know; it’s tempting to stay in hibernation because it feels comfortable, especially as the dreaded Mother’s Day is on the horizon.
I really don’t like January. My mood seems to follow the dark, grey days, which makes me feel flat and my husband would say, grumpy.
This year though I was better. Yes I had days when it felt feel like I was wading through treacle but they were fewer than previously and this difference this year is that I now have a gratitude practice.
There’s plenty of research to demonstrate that giving thanks makes you happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, improves health, and reduces stress.
It shows that those with a daily gratitude practice have higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. In addition, they experienced less depression and stress and bounce back more quickly from adversity.
And this makes sense too, don’t you think?
If you focus on the negative in your life, then you’ll get more of that, and so the more that you can think and be positive, the better your life will become.
Well; have I persuaded you, at least that gratitude is worth a try?
I get it, I’m grateful, is that enough?
I’d love to suggest that you say ‘I’m grateful’ three times, spin round in a circle and your life will be changed forever but you know that’s not going to happen.
Having a positive attitude is helpful and you need more than that.
I’m very convincing when I say that I have a healthy eating attitude, I know exactly what to eat to be healthy, and I have a shelf of healthy cookery and exercise books. But what good are they unless I practice? What good are they if I ignore them and eat a bar of chocolate? It’s only by practising regularly that I will become healthy.
The same is true of gratitude, an attitude will get you started but it won’t get you the positive benefits I mentioned above.
This is something I notice on the Let Go and Move On Programme. Those who are consistent with their gratitude practice notice these benefits gradually, over the weeks that we’re working together.
I’m convinced, how do I practise gratitude?
Here are three ways to get your gratitude muscle working.
1. Every day in your journal write down three things you’re grateful for today and why. I suggest that you do this in the morning so that you start the day with a positive mindset.
Use something like this wording: today I am grateful for/truly blessed to have/happy and grateful for ……………… because…….
So for me today,
I am grateful that I work from home because I’m full of cold and I can stay inside where its warm.
I am truly blessed and privileged to have a house, many possessions and enough in my life because this makes my life easier and so many others in the world don’t have these things.
I am happy and grateful to have friends and family that I can share laughter with because then I don’t take myself and life too seriously.
I know you haven’t got what you really wanted, but think for a moment, there are many things in your life to be grateful for. If you’re not sure what these might be, think about health, your body, work, finances, friends and family, nature, what goods and services you have in your life.
2. Find a small stone that fits comfortably in your hand, maybe from a place that’s special to you.
Keep it by your bedside.
Last thing at night, hold it in your hand, think about your day and answer this –
What’s one thing that I’m grateful for today?
It could be anything, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Then say thank you.
Doing this means that you’ll search through all the good things that happened and in doing this you may find several things to be grateful for. And it also means that you’ll end the day in a positive frame of mind.
And even if your day might seem to have been negative, there’s always something good that happened. And if you feel like it, you could also say thank you for one thing that made you augh, and one thing you achieved today.
I love this, my stone is from one of my favourite places; Malham Cove and I find it a really helpful way to end the day.
3. If you want a variation to this, you could write your one thing on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. Then you’ll have a record of gratefulness which you can dip into if you’re feeling sad.
I use a variation of this process to record my successes and achievements and seeing how much I’ve achieved is very affirming, and surprising!
Give it a go and Let Me Know
So how about you chose one or more of these, do it for a month and notice how much more positive you feel at the end.
Please comment below if you use one of these gratitude practices and how it works, or maybe you do something different, please tell us.
If this helps and not enough, maybe the Let Go and Move On Programme could be just what you need.