Reflecting, Part 1 - Gratitude
"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude." Brene Brown
As anyone can probably tell by now, I think that practicing daily gratitude is essential. I have noticed that in real life it can be hard for folks to do it. I think there are a few reasons that when I suggest you use a gratitude journal it doesn't necessarily translate right away to action:
#1: When I think of journaling, I either think of the journal I got to write my feelings down when I was 11 (imagine Blair's hair in Facts of Life + braces)....or I think of a sort-of hippie vibe (think the mom in Meet the Fockers + some incense). Neither of those resonate quite as they once did (if they ever did). I also, by the way, would only write in that birthday journal about once or twice and then I would forget about it or generally feel like I didn't have much to say. So "journaling" unless you are someone who already has it as a practice can be hard to step right into.
The reason why it’s worth trying is because carving out time to reflect can create a sense of agency in our daily lives. A sense of "I am not just reacting to the world around me, but have healthy control in my life" - to me, this is really the key to finding our path to self-actualization. Now, that doesn't mean you have to write in a journal every day. It doesn't need to be a big production. It can be as simple as enjoying small things when they are happening. For example, I was feeling a little down this morning & my breakfast companion ordered and shared a Nutella Tartine. It was literally the best thing I have ever had! So, for the moment when I was having it, I forgot I was down and I felt really appreciative of that small moment. That counts as a gratitude practice just as much as writing in a journal for an hour would! Plus, that brief reflection put the things I was down about in perspective and helped me feel much less down.
#2: Gratitude has been sort-of overdone. I mean it's everywhere and we are all sort of onto the next thing, right? For some folks suggesting a gratitude practice almost sounds cheesy at this point.
However, there is a reason why gratitude has and should stick around. We really cannot afford for it to be a fad like a trendy diet. There is mounds of data that shows us that a regular practice of gratitude makes us more content. Life is short and sometimes hard and often beautiful & I personally want to spend as much of it as possible joyously engaged....so just as I can never eat white bread again with abandon (because I know too much), I will practice daily gratitude. And probably so should you....
To make it easier, I have developed the Reflecting section on this site. (Note I said reflecting, not journaling, you don't even need to write this stuff down, just think about it...). It includes writing (or thinking) prompts, quotes that inspire me & things that catch my eye and move me. I hope this will make it a little easier for you to get your daily dose of gratitude....it's good for you!