If you know me at all, you’ve heard me talk about gratitude at some point and how it changes my life every time I practice it. You may not know this about me, but I have a tendency toward melancholy. I have to catch myself going down that path and turn around before I get too far. When I started to notice this about myself, I started a gratitude text with my family. Every day, when I woke up, I would send a text to them with three things I was grateful for. The amazing thing about doing this with a group is that if there’s a day you’re not feeling, which, believe me, there will be, usually one of the other people in the group will be feeling it and they’ll be the ones to start it. This text group kept me afloat for a long time. It often took me from grumpy to glamourous in a matter of minutes. It helped me focus on the good things that I have in my life, and there are a lot of them when I start to take inventory!
The other amazing thing about gratitude is that the more you focus on the good in your life, the more you’re telling Source what you want more of. There are so many ways to go about gratitude. You can start a text string with a group of friends or family like I did. There are groups on Facebook dedicated to sharing gratitude. You can start a gratitude journal. The great thing about a gratitude journal is that on the days that you feel absolutely miserable and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can look back at your journal and see all of the things that you have to be grateful for.
When I was at my lowest, my therapist introduced this gratitude practice to me. At the time, I couldn’t think of one thing to be grateful for. She asked me in one of my sessions to come up with three things I was grateful for, and when I couldn’t, she recommended that I start with what I had right in front of me. Be grateful for things that you didn’t even ask for. Try out, I am grateful for my eyesight. But I wasn’t grateful for my eyesight. I didn’t want to see what I had created in my life. It was ugly. It was hard, and I didn’t want to see it. Be grateful for my ability to breathe. I didn’t want to breathe anymore. Life was hard and breathing meant that I had to face another day. One thing, there had to be one thing I was grateful for. My cats. I was grateful for my cats, because no matter what was happening, they were there for me. They were soft and fuzzy and purred when they sat on my lap. They took away all of my problems and made me sit still and rest. I was grateful for my cats. The next day, it was a little easier to find something I was grateful for. That was almost 8 years ago!
Today, I take random moments to sit and recognize all of the amazing things in my life. I know that the things I have brought into my life are in part because of that one small little nugget of gratitude that I found 8 years ago.
So, how does this practice help when you’re in the middle of holiday stress? You can practice it anywhere. You can make it a daily practice that you do when you wake up or right before going to sleep or both. You can make it a practice when you’re in a moment of frustration or anxiety. When you start to feel your heart racing or your breath beginning to shorten, take a minute to acknowledge what’s happening and how you’re feeling and then look around you and pick out three things that you’re grateful for in that moment. If that doesn’t work, pick three more things. Keep making a list and taking inventory until you’re giggling and giddy from the joy of all of the amazing things you have in your life.
We have the same capacity for gratitude and joy that we have for melancholy and pain. It’s up to us to choose which one we want to focus on.
Thank you for joining me on this adventure, and I’m so grateful that I can share these tools with you that I’ve learned. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me in my lifetime!
I bless you with the peace and ease you need in this holiday season.