If you’ve been reading around here for a while you will know that every Thursday I post a list of the things I am thankful for from the past week. I love looking back over the last 7 days at the photos I have taken and being reminded that I have loved, that I am loved and that there are good gifts if I can just see past my current first world problems.
Here’s what I’ve being doing to lift my mood with gratitude:
- Recently (15 days ago to be more precise) I started a thankful challenge with my dear friend Twyla. It’s just writing down three things I am grateful for at the end of each day for 21 days. I’ve been posting my lists on my Facebook page and I am thrilled to see that others have responded by commenting with their own lists and we have a little thankful community to bask in nightly. (Come join us! It’s free and freeing).
- I’ve also joined a photo challenge called #FindJoyInNovember. It’s so simple. Just find something that brings you joy each day, snap a picture and post it on your favorite social media platform with the above hash tag.
- At the end of the 21 day challenge I plan to go back to my regular ole 1000 gifts notebook. (Which I haven’t written in for at least a year). It’s really wonderful to go back and read some of the 600+ gifts I have already recorded and being on the lookout for new ones is a big boost to my daily outlook.
- When my children are, ahem, less than thrilled about a chore or school assignment, instead of sending them to their bedrooms until they sort out their attitude I have them add three things to an ongoing thankful list that they keep handy. It’s a bit like a forced 1000 gifts exercise I suppose. It’s not magic, but I am hoping it will eventually help them get over their first world entitlement issues. And it keeps me from sinking into the cranky pit with them.
Here’s what I’ve noticed about practicing gratitude way more regularly than usual.
- My sense of entitlement has gone way down. Craig has taken to saying “What makes you so special that the universe should bend to your will?” (He means it in the sweetest, kindest, most romantic way possible, I assure you). It’s true though. Am I God? No. So when things don’t go exactly according to my plan (and really do they ever?) I am much better at seeing the at leasts. At least that broken mug means I now have some space to hang a different favorite mug. Spilled soup means we’ll have pancakes for supper instead. I am much more (but not perfectly) able to go with the flow.
- My world view (at least in my personal world) has changed. It’s more likely that I will be positive when I am keeping my eyes peeled for things to be thankful for rather than finding reasons to throw myself a pity party. (Oh yes I have been known to wallow in the depth of despair over ridiculous spoiled brat things). I wouldn’t say I am wearing rose colored glasses just yet, but my outlook is much more loving and cheerful.
Do you have any practices of gratitude? Leave me a comment and tell me about them and how they impact your life.