Wow, 2020 has been a year we won't forget. So many of us are lost at this time. Not sure what is happening or going to happen next. Life is unpredictable and often very challenging. Each day we're faced with obstacles that test our ability to cope well with difficulties. It's easy to get angry, scared, or resentful and forget about gratitude for the good things in our life.
I know during the rough times it is so hard to be GRATEFUL but we do. If we don't cherish and feel grateful for the good things, how can we justify wanting more of them?
Here are some easy gratitude practices that can support you in challenging times:
1. Make sure to do a random act of kindness
When we're going through a stressful or difficult period in our life, we get so self-centered and focused on self-pity that we rarely stop to think about others. Your family is going through this with you so make sure you recognize the people around you. It's all not all about you!
Think about who you know that needs a little kindness in their life. Your husband, wife, kids, parents, neighbor, anyone who might be having a difficult time right now. It doesn't take much to show your support and affection.
Maybe make their favorite dinner, or pick up ice cream and create a yummy dessert, or just spending time with them will go a long way.
By being kind and generous to others, you create a greater sense of connection that generates a more positive outlook on life. You feel better about yourself plus you make the other person feel happy.
2. Take a moment to say thank you for the little things.
My husband taught me this lesson. It really is about how you deal with the ups and downs of life. Not every day is going to be a bowl of cherries that is for sure!
When things don't go your way and you feel like a victim of life, it can be extremely hard to feel grateful and notice things to be thankful for. Yet, there are plenty of small joys around you even on the most difficult of days all you need to do is change your point of focus.
Write a thank-you note to someone who deserves it! Maybe you have an online friend that really needs a pick-up- reach out and let them know how much you appreciate them.
Send a gift card by email- a $10 Starbucks card is super easy to do or even AMAZON GIFT CARD.
Think about this- by saying thank you to someone it will shift your focus from life's challenges to life's pleasures. When you do good things you feel good- well I know I do. This way, your mind expands and supports you in finding solutions and ways to get unstuck and move forward.
3. Re-frame your negativity.
Challenging times bring on lots of negativity. The one thing that helped me was I stopped watching the news in the morning. Yes, I need to know what is going on but I don’t need all this negativity in the morning. I might catch a few minutes in the afternoon and before I go to bed but I’m not glued to the news 24/7- we all know some people doing that right now and that is not healthy!
Look at the goodness and benefits of your current struggles and try to learn from them. Being at home with my family has brought us all together and slowed our life down. We realize now that we were doing way too much that was not needed.
Try to keep the negative thoughts to yourself and not put more pressure on others. Like my mama always said- if you don’t have anything good to say then keep your mouth shut. I’m 50 years old and I still obey this lesson. I don’t know what others are going through so why put my judgment on them.
4. Keep a gratitude journal.
This is likely the most popular gratitude practice. It comes with a variety of benefits, including better quality sleep, increased immunity, greater levels of resilience, and improved mood. All these benefits are needed when you’re going through a tough time in life.
To start a gratitude journal all you need is a few moments of undisturbed time, willingness to reflect, and a way to capture your thoughts (notebook, phone, laptop). The morning time is always the best time for me to sit down with my thoughts.
Writing helps you to organize thoughts, process information, and experiences and supports you in accepting your challenging times by putting them in context.
If you are looking for JOURNALS I want to tell you about a few that I was given to try out for Mommy's Block Party- Gift Guide.
66 Day Journal: A Guided Journal for Creating New Habits-by Matthew Mockridge-Achieve Your Goal in 66 Days. Create new habits―and stick with them: Routines can be hard to establish- in 66 days! View this book on Amazon or Bookshop
Gratitude with Attitude: A Journal by Ronnie Walter. By using this 5-minute journal to record things we’re grateful for, spot meaningful intentions, and celebrate tiny victories, we create a space to grow in gratitude for what we have and see better who we want to be. View this book on Amazon or Bookshop
Start Here. Start Now... Start Anywhere! by Ronnie WalterPart coloring book, part guided journal specially made to help you accomplish your ambitions, meet your goals, and enjoy moments of mindfulness. View this book on Amazon or Bookshop!
The best time to write in a journal is in the morning or right before you go to bed. I enjoy grabbing my journal with my cup of coffee and going outside. I can focus the best in the morning but some days I need to write in my journal before bed so I don’t go to bed with all those feelings.
Here are a few books that are not journals but can help you with DE-STRESSING and are just FUN!
You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations, and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression by Kate Allan These cute daily meditations help with depression and anxiety- plus the illustrations are so darn cute! View this book on Amazon or Bookshop
The Crafty Gardener: Inspired Ideas and DIY Crafts From Your Own Backyard by Becca Anderson-100 Ideas, Crafts, and How-tos for Gardeners. More than a gardening book- activities too. View this book on Amazon or Bookshop