Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of off, emotionally. I’ve certainly been feeling a bit discouraged when it comes to things I’m doing at the moment like school, this blog, work and other things in life. It’s times like this I have to dig deep and make a choice to shift my mindset onto something better, something more positive. So here goes…
One of the many things that I have learned through years of therapy involves gratitude. What does it really mean to be grateful? Well, I’ll tell you what it means for me. Gratitude, I feel, comes from deep within the heart. It’s about expressing your appreciation for the things you do have, instead of focusing on the things you wish you had or on the things you want. It’s about taking the time to stop and look at the positive things that are right in front of you. In therapy, I was introduced to keeping a gratitude journal. I kept up with my gratitude journal for weeks and it truly helped change my really terrible moods into something better. When I was first introduced to making gratitude lists or keeping a gratitude journal, I thought okay, think big. What big things am I grateful for? A home, a job, family, friends, etc. Being grateful for big things wasn’t really doing much for me. Why wasn’t it helping? I was ready to throw in the towel on these gratitude lists. My therapist encouraged me to look at the small things. She encouraged me to become more aware of those little things that happened each day that I normally wouldn’t pay much attention to. So I took on the challenge. I began putting the smaller things on my lists. You don’t always have to think big, sometimes it’s most beneficial to think small. Keep that in mind when doing a gratitude list/journal. Think small but think positive!
Gratitude lists for me are very beneficial. They really help me get into a better mindset and out of that negative thinking. It helps me to put things I am grateful for down on paper because it makes it more real. I usually set a goal for myself on the number of things I am going to write down. If I’m having an okay day, I may write about 15 things on my list. If I’m having a terrible day then I will challenge myself and push myself to double that number. Is it always easy? NO! Especially when you’re really struggling with the negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions and you just downright are having a crappy day. But the end result was and is always so worth it.
I didn’t and don’t always keep up with my gratitude journal. It’s not that I can’t do so, I just don’t make the time to do it as much as I used to. So that is one of my goals, to keep up with a gratitude journal again. I realized tonight that my mood keeps fluctuating pretty frequently over the past week or so and I thought to myself, do something to change your mindset. Get the negative thoughts out and positive in. As I said, I am feeling very discouraged lately and honestly, I don’t want to sit in that and accept that. This is partly why I am writing this post. Before writing this post, I told myself, “write a gratitude list for today.” So that really was my only goal. Then I figured since I’m feeling a bit discouraged as far as my blog goes, why not make it a post?! Double the positivity!
I’ll share with you some of my gratitude list for today….
- Having enough gas to get to work
- The smiles on my kids face at work
- Having fingers to type this blog post
- The ability to hear, to listen to my music
- Laughing with a coworker
- Having money to get lunch
- Having a car
- My Bible
- Ziggy’s excitement when I got home (my dog)
- Pajama pants
Those are things I don’t think about all of the time. I had to stop myself and say okay “think positive.” I had to stop and think about what did make me smile today. Those are things that made me smile today and I am grateful for those things and much more. Honestly, I feel a bit better in doing that gratitude list tonight. It is part of what prompted me to get on my blog, the one I am feeling discouraged about, and write this to you all.
Don’t just say you’re grateful and expect that to help. I challenge you to think about what you are grateful for. I challenge you to write those down. Dig deep into your day and really think about the smaller things. In reality, sometimes the smaller things are the biggest. There are SO many things to be grateful for, no matter what situation you are in. I truly believe that. Take a chance, write a gratitude list each day for a week and see how that can change your mood. It certainly helps me and I encourage you to see how it may help you. It leaves me feeling a little more optimistic about life and for that I am grateful!