Two years ago, I had never considered a “daily” gratitude practice. Back then, being grateful was something we discussed at Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t even know people were grateful on a daily basis! Feels funny to even write that.
Little did I know, cultivating gratitude in my daily life would change my life. It has taken me from negative to positive. And it works DAILY. Because there is always something to be grateful for.
The single most important reason WHY gratitude is a mandatory part of my morning routine:
You cannot be angry and grateful simultaneously. You cannot be fearful and grateful simultaneously.
Try to be angry and grateful at the same time. It is impossible.
I remember the day that I tried…
I was having a shitty day. It was already 3pm in the afternoon. I don’t remember exactly why my day was so crappy, but I do recall having road rage. Road rage is something that came with my ridiculous anger I use to carry around with me years ago, so when I had road rage on this day, I had flashbacks of the “old me”. The “old me” honestly scares me. I never want to be that person again. I then became angry with myself. So I came home and grabbed my gratitude journal, which I did NOT take the time to do in my morning routine. I mentally noted this before I started writing.
As I wrote down the words, “I am grateful for…”, I felt completely stuck. Then I felt like a horrible human for being stuck. I mean, I can’t think of ANYTHING I am grateful for right now?
If you aren’t seeing what I am seeing here, the “anger” emotion I had been carrying around with me that day was blocking my view. I call it a negative “filter” which was causing me to be “stuck”.
So… I decided to step outside my house and walk to the end of my driveway and back.
The moment I stepped outside, I looked up at the sky. And I gasped, followed by a flow of endless tears.
When I see a “hole” or “opening” in the clouds, similar to this photo to the right, I always imagine that being my Dad poking his head down at me. Telling me I got this. Telling me it’s going to be okay. Telling me he loves me.
Can you believe that is the FIRST thing I saw when I stepped outside? In the midst of my gratitude exercise! Following a completely “off” day…What kind of timing is that?
It’s timing from God. That’s what it is. It’s the universe talking to me.
A time for awareness.
In this moment, I felt completely present.
It’s MY choice on what type of energy I am going to contribute back in this world.
And I choose to lead from a grateful heart.
It starts with me.
When you are coming from a place of gratitude:
- You see things from a different set of filters
- You make decisions from a different set of filters
As I stared deeply into the hole in the clouds, I made the decision that gratitude was essential to my overall well-being. To my mental health.
This “shitty” day turned out to be a blessing.
It was the day I decided to start each morning with a grateful heart.
Gratitude is my medicine for mental health. It is my prescription for anxiety, depression, stress, sadness, anger, procrastination, and fear. It keeps me joyful, calm, and helps me to focus on what really matters.
How to keep a Gratitude Journal:
The exercise consists of writing down 5 things you are grateful for. Start with 2 or 3 if it makes it easier to get yourself started. You can always work your way up to 5.
I also include how the thing I am grateful for made me feel, or what I learned, or any other detail that will help me to really step into that moment. I want to feel that moment all over again. To hear what I heard then, to see what I saw then, to feel what I felt then.
This takes 10 minutes of my day.
Sometimes I go longer than 10 minutes because I am really feeling it and I don’t want it to stop. I am smiling from ear to ear, filling myself with appreciation, and trust me, 10 minutes will go by very fast when you are “feelin’ it”.
Most of us are wired for stress, wired for frustration, wired for feeling lonely.
Choosing to cultivate gratitude in your daily routine is a DECISION to wire yourself for happiness.
“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.”
-Neale Donald Walsch-