This busy world is full of “To Do” lists and distractions galore. One thing that has really helped me gain a different and happier perspective is the practice of gratitude. My practice of gratitude is still a work in progress. However, I find that the more I work at it, the easier it gets. And the better I feel about myself and about those around me.
A few of the things I have started to do:
Physically writing down what I am grateful for. This helps use muscle memory and makes the items I am thankful for seem more real and hard to forget.
Thinking about things beyond my control, at the start of my day, and at the end. This helps me to frame my day, and also keeps me humble. I may feel like I can control a lot of things, but there is so much in life that is happenstance and chance. This is not something to bring fear or unhappiness. Rather, it should bring wonder each and every day. So much in this life is a blessing.
Go to bed each night thinking of my family. My family is undoubtedly the thing I am most thankful for. I smile and laugh to myself recounting some of the craziness and silliness that has happened that day. I try to capture some of this with photos and notes to myself. But it is amazing how many little memories are built each hour, each day, and each week. Time really does fly by. Today is a gift, and I try to live more in the present, rather than dwelling on the past or fretting over the future.
Future plans: A Gratitude Journal
These are my simple starting points, that have at least gotten the ball rolling for me. In time (perhaps as a New Years Resolution), I hope to start a gratitude journal. That should be a more concrete way to record some of my thoughts and feelings. It should be fun to look back on things I may have forgotten.
Gratitude: Turning Negative Thoughts Around
For now, though, I think what I have started has built a daily routine that changes my perspective for the better. It is easy to get down on things in the world and get down on myself when things are not going well. This approach of gratitude helps reframe my thoughts in a healthier and more productive way.