Excitement and Gratitude
Week 29 of 'The Great Wake Up!'
Last year I kept a gratitude journal. As with most things I do, I started with good intentions but it didn't take long before I began to neglect it and shortly after that I stopped doing it all together. Unfortunately I let other things take over and I got caught up in the day-to-day 'stuff' that meant my daily gratitude practice fell further down my 'to do' list.
Which is a shame when I look back on it. I've read a lot about the benefits of having a gratitude practice and for the short period I did it, it made a positive difference in my life. But as with anything, I needed to ensure that I made time for it and to make it a priority, which I didn't do.
So this was a great opportunity to try and pick it up again and to remind myself of how helpful I found it.
Something I had never tried before was to identify first thing in the morning all the things that I was excited about for the day ahead. I had never thought to do this, but it makes perfect sense. I usually wake up in quite a negative frame of mind where I'm worrying about all that I have to do that day. Clearly this doesn't start the day off in the best of ways for me.
This week was the perfect time for me to try this as I haven't had a very good couple of weeks. And it worked a treat! I found that a small shift in perspective made a big difference to the way I approached each day. It helped me focus on the things I had to look forward to, rather than the things I wasn't - whether it was feeling excited about the weather, going to the theatre or even the thought of getting through a big piece of work. It helped me begin my day off on the right note and I found this carried through with me for the rest of the day.
Combining this with a reflection at the end of the day, of all the things I was grateful for, felt like the perfect combination. As I mentioned I usually focus on the negative side of things - going over something that has gone wrong, getting annoyed about things that hadn't quite turned out as I'd hoped and just generally worrying. Focussing on the things that I was grateful for helped me be more aware of the things that had gone right. Even if something didn't go as I'd hoped I tried to look at what I'd gained from that experience and what lessons I had learned, being grateful for those.
This exercise has really made a difference to what has otherwise been a difficult week so I fully intend to continue with this, and this time I'm going to try my hardest to keep it up.