A few months ago, I had a good long look in the mirror and realized I was being a bit more negative than I care for. I was self-deprecating and always on the lookout for that other shoe to drop. Guess what? When you are looking for the shoe to drop, it will.
On that day of realization, I decided I was going to try something. I was going to start a gratitude journal. You know how much I love a journal…
I chose the journal at the bottom of the pile above because it was the tallest and prettiest one I hadn’t earmarked for a book yet. Plus, the cover said: Make Today Ridiculously Amazing. I mean, it was practically begging to be used as a gratitude journal.
With a new pencil in hand, (I use a pencil in all of my journals. It makes me less anxious if I make a mistake I can erase it) I started by writing the date and Day 1. On that day, I thanked a friend for realizing she too needed to start practicing gratitude. We took the journey together.
So, after 100 days of writing down something daily that I was grateful for, what have I discovered?
I forgot about the shoe. You know? That bad thing that always seemed like it was looming. It wasn’t even on my radar. Do you know what was? A positive outlook and attitude. I began to see all of the good things in my life. Sure, bad stuff happened, but I didn’t harp on it. I looked at what I was grateful for in that situation.
For instance, I have Ulcerative Colitis. Flares are a thing that come and go, no matter how good your med regimen or habits are. It’s an autoimmune thing that doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. I had a pretty nasty flare during this time, but instead of harping on how miserable I was, I was instead, grateful for the medicines I had to help heal me. Grateful to be able to work from home. Grateful I could lay down when I needed to. Grateful that my children were able to help pick up the household slack. It made dealing with the flare so much easier to deal with when I focused on the things I had than stressing about the things I didn’t have (a healthy colon.)
Even the snow that just fell. I hate snow. Well, hate is a strong word. I dislike it with a passion. Or rather, I hate driving in it or shoveling it. Mostly shoveling it. I have a bad back so a shovel almost always means I’ll be in lots of discomfort after a snowstorm. We just had a storm. I grumbled, yes. But then, I realized it was only a few inches of light and fluffy stuff. And it turned the boring brown grass a beautiful and renewing white. I was grateful it was so light. Grateful I had a new shovel to help ease back discomfort. Grateful I have someone who can plow for me when the snow gets high.
With the new year right around the corner, instead of making a resolution, why not make the decision to be grateful? You could get a journal like me, or you could just sit with your morning coffee and reflect on what you are grateful for. You might be surprised how your outlook can change once you start paying attention to all the good in your life instead of searching for the negative. Because I guarantee, if you look for the bad you WILL find it. But the same can be said for the good.
The only question becomes, what are you seeking? Because that is what you’ll find.
Danielle Bannister a.k.a Dani Bannister, author and gratitude seeker.