Last night a friend of mine 💕told me she had attended a mindfulness class at work and they talked about about gratitude. The notion of “Gratitude” has become hip in the last couple of years, and frankly before I became a coach I knew I was thankful for the joy and abundance in my life but I wasn’t conscious of it as often as I am now.
To me, gratitude is taking the time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. It’s a way of focusing attention on the things that truly matter and give life meaning.
I’ve tried many gratitude practices over the last few years, one of which is, saying or writing 5 things I’m grateful for each night before I go to bed. Some nights it’s easy to say; I’m grateful for my children, my health, the roof over my head. Other nights have been more challenging and it might be as simple as the sun was shining or I’m breathing.
Studies show that your conscious thoughts at the end of the day matter. They manifest your perspective and create either positive or negative energy the next day and moving forward. So what you think about and practice before you close your eyes matters. If you read right before you go to bed about negative happenings in the world you’re more likely to channel negative energy. If you do something or yes, even think something positive, your spirits are lifted. Also you need to practice something for at least 21 consecutive days to make it a habit, and creating a nightly gratitude practice is a pretty nifty habit to cultivate.
My very favorite gratitude practice is one I started 4 years ago after taking a Brene Brown online course. In it she suggested making a photographic gratitude journal. It’s so easy today with the advent of our smart phones and cameras. Each day or whenever the spirit moves me I take a photo of something that I see that if it wasn’t there, I would miss. I then put the picture in an album I created on my phone: My gratitude journal. I have photos of the magnifying glasses that Jeff and I have in every room of the house as we are growing old together. I have a photo of the spoon he uses to stir his coffee each morning and then leaves on the counter every day for the past 30 years! I have a picture of my Mom waiting for me in a coffee shop that she never knew I took, and I have photos of my grown children brushing their teeth in their childhood bathroom or them sleeping in their beds when they come home to visit. They call it creepy, I call it gratitude.
These photos ground me and often refocus me on what matters most in my life.
These are simple practices, but honestly they can make a real difference in our lives. If this is something you’d like to do, I’m happy to help you get started. Start by making a commitment to practicing gratitude in a way that’s going to work for you and promise yourself to stick with it for at least 21 days. You can do it!! By day 7, it won’t feel like a chore, promise.
It might be a photographic gratitude journal or a writing exercise each night before you go to bed. Or you could try what my daughter Rebecca and her boyfriend do; they tell each other 2 things their grateful for each night before they go to sleep. You do what feels right for you. Whatever you choose, I’m pretty confident you’ll find your spirits will be lifted, your energy more positive and your view of the world a little bit more sunny by Day 21! Let me know what you think and how it goes.