Being able to recognize the things you are grateful for or can be appreciative of can have a significant impact, not only on how you feel in the moment, but practiced consistently, your life. I know that might seem a little dramatic, but research has shown that practicing gratitude can help with everything from suicidal thoughts to improving a marriage.
With my clients, I often start by asking them to identify 3 things daily they are grateful for. It can be something they experienced, something about themselves, something from the past, or something they might be looking forward to. It is even okay to repeat some of the things daily. This can feel like a lot, but for most of us it is entirely possible. In fact, it’s part of the reason the exercise is productive. We tend to take much of our lives for granted. Finding gratitude is about living in the moment and appreciating the things we don’t typically acknowledge.
Some examples…health, having a job, a nice talk with a friend, developmental ability to read and write. We often don’t think about these things unless/until there is a problem with them. But if we have them, it can be helpful to acknowledge them.
I first started a “gratitude journal” after seeing Sarah BanBreathnach on an episode of Oprah in….well, quite a long time ago. Her recommendation was to identify 5 things daily. I thought there was no way I could come up with that many things, every single day. She also said it didn’t have to be something big and there was no “rule” about repeating the same things over again. ~as many of you know, I tend to be a rule follower so that was big for me.
The first few
days weeks were very basic…being healthy, having my grandparents in my life, my kids’ health, my husband’s health, and being able to go to school.
The longer I did it, the more I found I was truly grateful for. My husband traveled every week for work and while I worried about him every time he drove back and forth, I never allowed myself to feel the sense of relief and appreciation for him arriving safely.
Knowing my parents. That may seem strange, but I’ve known and worked with people who didn’t.
Feeling better today than I did yesterday. I had been in a car accident shortly before I started the journal and had headaches pretty much daily. There were, however days that I didn’t. Taking the time to recognize that was huge for me.
Over the years there have been many things I’ve discovered a sense of gratitude for that previously I would have completely missed. It allows me to be much more at peace no matter what is going on.
So what do you say….ready to try it? Just 3 things daily. I’d love to hear your thoughts/reactions as well as what you are grateful for today.
~I’m grateful for having a husband who understands computer related things and that he created this website and blog for me 🙂
~I’m grateful for the ability to reach out to all of you in this way
~I’m grateful for all I have experienced in my life that led me to where I am
picture from gratitude habit