The people I know who write in a gratitude journal seem to be the most satisfied and fulfilled of my friends.
They say it’s an instant injection of happiness and optimism, and they’ve learned to retrain their brain throughout the day to handle the minutia better.
Psych studies agree.
Dr. Dan Baker writes, “It is a fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear <and anxiousness, stated earlier> at the same time. The two states may alternate, but are mutually exclusive.”
That sounds to me like we have a choice- unhappy or grateful. Well duh, I want a butt-ton of grateful!
So how do we do it?
I know there are many times I’m thankful for something only to get derailed a short while later. It appears I’m not spending enough time in my grateful state.
Whether it’s physical, emotional, silly, odd, or material things, here are some tips from the experts:
- Do an early morning rundown of the awesome things that exist in your life.
- Be open, watchful, and alert to the good.
- See the little things- favorite song on the radio, a held door, a kids laughter, etc.
- Elaborate on the whole picture. Express thankfulness, notice when/where it happened, and how it made you feel.
- Keep a gratitude journal by the bedside and each night list 3-5 positive experiences from the day.
- Write a letter of thanks, an email of appreciation, or a genuine tweet/post to someone who made a difference that day.
- Say thank you often.
- Express gratitude at all meals.
Alright, I give! I started a gratitude journal and will share my first entry:
I am grateful for possibility and ability.
I just got back from buying a good sports bra and a few new workout shirts in preparation for the Savage Race in October. I’m in the worst shape of my life, but am ready to burst the protection bubble of stress-eating and bad habits I’ve built over the last six years.
I’m thankful for the possibility ahead- feeling better, clothes fitting better, and having more energy.
I’m also unbelievably thankful I have the ability to change anything I want. I can walk, run, push, pull, and sweat til I burst because I have wonderfully-made limbs to do so.
I’m grateful for a mind that can be rewired, a body that can be rebuilt, and full-support sports bras to make all that movement more comfortable.
Cheers to a restful and thankful Sunday. If you’d like to share your gratitude today, I’d love to hear!