A few months back I was talking to a friend about the holidays coming up and how even though it is a time of excitement and anticipation, we both agreed there’s a certain amount of stress that goes along with it. Often before shopping, baking, or gift wrapping has even started I told her I feel anxious just thinking about getting it all done. She pointed out that since I am human (a condition I’m currently stuck with… dang it!) it’s natural for my mind to gravitate toward negative thinking. I asked her what I could do to change that and she told me about gratitude journaling.
Before you roll your eyes and click the x at the top, hear me out! I’m guessing your phone is within .3 feet of your person. Pick it up and go to the app store. Search: gratitude journal. I started out with a free version before making the executive decision to upgrade to gratitude365 that cost 99 cents (guess we won’t be putting anything away in savings this month, sorry honey.) I would say I take less than a minute at night to review my day and think about things I can be grateful for. Some days it’s really easy to think of hundreds of things; some days I struggle to think of 5. That’s ok.
I would say about 2 weeks after starting this journal I began to notice something. My days were more joyful! I smiled more and really started taking in little things that happened that I appreciated. I consciously went through my day looking for things to be grateful for, knowing I would write it down later that night. Imagine this: After cleaning my entire house I come into the kitchen and Noah has pulled everything off the bottom shelf of the pantry and dumped quinoa (tiny little beads FYI) all over the pantry floor. Although I immediately felt myself getting angry, the next thought that came into my mind was, “I’m grateful for this opportunity to practice patience.” Wait. Is this real life? Did I really just have that thought?
Now I’m no saintly parent or anything (stop laughing, Joe) but that was a pretty neat experience! And there is a zoo of research out there about how being mindful and conscious with your actions actually changes the structure of your brain. I got really excited at the beginning of November when people started posting their daily gratitudes on Facebook! Go get ‘em brain changers.
So, if there’s something I can do for 99 cents (next month hon, I promise) that brings more joy into my daily life… sign me up