With Thanksgiving having been just days ago and the Holiday season upon us (my favorite time of the year, I might add), the topic of thankfulness and gratitude is in the air. I try to start everyday with a prayer of thanks, and every week I journal a list of 7 things I am grateful for. I’ve been doing that for over a year now, but I confess that since I moved in August I have fallen off with it. I can’t even say it’s been a little fall off either. Despite having a weekly reminder of it set on my phone, I think that today was the first day in months that I actually managed to get it done. And I can’t lie, I have definitely felt the difference.
There’s something about having to focus on the blessings in your life that puts everything in perspective. When I first started this little journal ritual, I was making a list of everything I was grateful for amidst working at a job where I was underpaid, unhappy, and basically trying to stay positive despite longing for change. Looking back, I’m convinced that doing that list affected my mindset. Fast forward to the past couple of months, and the consistent bouts of negative self-talk that I have to talk down in my head, despite having changed some of my circumstances, reflect the presence of lack of gratitude. When I slow down I am able to look around and appreciate the little things – like the beautiful sight of the trees turning colors from my balcony, or how the sky looks as the sun rises during my drive to work. I still may not be where I want to be, but I still feel blessed because my prayer to be out of that former situation was answered. Also, I know it could be a lot worse. EThat in and of itself helps me to be grateful.
It’s sad how there is a weird comfort that we can find in negative, yet familiar, patterns of thinking. When I wake up in the morning, before saying my quick gratitude prayer, when there is something else going on in my life that has me feeling some kind of way, I have to consciously make the decision to not dwell on that. Otherwise, despite having prayed over that issue the night and/or days before, I automatically go back to that place – that semi-obsessive, negative head space, where I’m going through a roller-coaster of negative thoughts that defeat the entire purpose of my prayer. And it’s because that’s what familiar to me. That’s what I’ve done for so long. I literally have to tell myself “nope. We’re not doing this” to get my mind right. Because I know, like the Law of Attraction states, its what you focus on and think about the most, that you draw more of into your life. I’ve seen that play out in my past more than enough times to know how true that is. So instead of focusing on the stressfulness of a situation, I find some kind of silver lining – often just thanking God for the strength or wisdom the situation is teaching me.
I think it’s easy to take a first step to gratitude by comparing your life in a “well at least I don’t have to deal with __________” or “it could be worse.” But to get to a full appreciation of your blessings, stop to think about all the little things that you have in your life – people, situations, experiences, that are important to you. Focus on how fortunate you are to have these things. Stopping to appreciate and say thanks for these things can create this magnetic energy that attracts even more positivity. Even if it’s just a sense of joy and peace, it’s indescribable how powerful it can be in your life to show gratitude. Don’t believe me: start off small like I did. For an entire month, make a list everyday of at least 5 things you are grateful for. I guarantee that at the end of those 30 or 31 days you will see a difference.