There are days when anxiety creeps in. This usually happens when something in my life isn’t going to ‘plan’ or as I’d hope. It always surprises me just how easy it is to forget the good things in my life even if just one small aspect goes skewwhiff.
A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine created a 30 day gratitude challenge which involved writing down, speaking of or thinking about three things in my life that I was grateful for each day. This challenge brought me so much happiness; weird right? But being encouraged to take stock of all the things I needed to be grateful for changed my way of thinking. I found myself in a haze of positivity and I no longer sweated the small things that didn’t matter.
The majority of empirical studies indicate that there is an association between gratitude and a sense of overall wellbeing. The 30 day challenge validated this assertion. When I proactively gave thanks to the things in my life that were beautiful, valuable and worth celebrating, I looked at the world differently. I was motivated to do more – more exercise, more socialising, more dancing and most important, more listening – to music, myself and others.
On this Sunday, I ask you to consider your own gratitude challenge. Harvard Medical School have suggested some ways to cultivate gratitude regularly and I wanted to share these with you:
- Write a thank you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending letters and once in a while, write one to yourself.
- No time to write? Thank someone mentally. It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.
- Count your blessings by keeping a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down the things you are grateful for each day. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
- Pray. Religious people can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
- Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a nice message from a friend, a kind gesture from a loved one, etc).
In my experience, practicing gratitude helped me to disconnect from toxic and negative emotions. I’ve found it easier to look on the bright side of every situation and have been able to quickly navigate my way out of mentally difficult times.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
Sending love and light always.