How gratitude can improve wellbeing
I’ve always considered myself to be a grateful person – I take the time to say thank you to others for their efforts and I truly value the friends and family I have around me as well as the safety and security of my home. But, I’ve never taken the time think about, notice and jot down what I’m grateful for. After reading a few articles about the positive impacts of gratitude I was curious to give it a go – and what better time to try it out than our time in lock down?!
The restrictions lock down placed on me, and all of us, meant that I wasn’t able to do many of things which usually put a smile on my face and bring me joy, such as; spending the day hiking a coastal path or baking a cake and eating it with friends. As I sat at home, with only the cat for company, and a brief excursion outside to exercise, I wondered what I could be grateful for. And so began my gratitude journal.
Every evening, (well, most evenings), I jot down three things I am grateful for and what I'm looking forward to tomorrow. When I began, everything I wrote down was a generalisation, such as friendship and family. I shared this with a friend who encouraged me to focus on the detail and to write down something specific for each day. This instantly felt harder, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find three things - and therefore feel sad that I have nothing to be grateful for.
But the opposite was true. Most days I could find three things such as a text from a friend, or enjoying a really juicy mango. And when I wrote about these it brought a smile to my face, my body relaxed and I felt happiness ( just writing about the mango now brings back these positive feelings) . On the days I couldn’t find three things, I was surprised to find that it didn’t make me sad. Instead it made me think what was different or difficult about that particular day and what I could do differently tomorrow to experience gratitude again.
After two months of doing this, I can honestly say it’s helped me in a way I wasn't expecting. Not only do I notice the detail in every day, I find happiness in the detail, which helps keep positivity levels in a good place
What are the three things you're grateful for today?