14 Days of Gratitude
I honestly resisted the idea of starting a gratitude journal when it first came on my radar. I have always considered myself to be a grateful person. I genuinely appreciate when good things happen in my life. So when I heard about writing down three things I am grateful for, it felt kind of forced.
How would it help me?
I truly do not remember what made me try it out. But try it out I did and I learned how powerful this subtle practice can be.
You see, I always thought gratitude would come around big events, big things, holidays. It would happen organically really. What I didn’t realize was that gratitude for the big things is a result of an accumulation of the little things. And when we slow down and appreciate those little things, a lot can shift in our lives.
Not sure what I mean? Keep reading.
I’m grateful for my husband. But why? Well, first I’m grateful to have him in my life. But why am I grateful for him specifically? It is an accumulation of all the little details of our life that makes up the greater whole of our relationship.
When I started this gratitude practice, I added in a very crucial element to it that took it to another level.
Simply writing down that I am grateful for my husband is great, it is something I do feel a lot of the time and it feels nice to put it on paper, but the feelings kind of end there. The next part to this practice is to add a specific reason why I am grateful for him today.
This changes everything.
If I write in my journal that I am grateful for my husband, that’s great. I might think, ‘yeah, I am grateful for him. [loving pause] Okay, now what do I have to do today, oh it’s a busy day. Whew how am I going to get it all done?’ And my mind continues to run off towards stress-filled territories.
Yet if I write in my journal that I am grateful for my husband and then I ask myself, why am I grateful for him today? Then my brain to slows down, and I think about all the little moments of the otherwise mundane morning routine.
I remember the warmth of his hand as I passed him on the way into the bathroom. I remember the sound of his voice and the love in it as he said good morning.
I remember how nice our short but meaningful conversation was as he poured his coffee into his travel mug and I cleaned the kitchen.
I decide on the conversation and jot down ‘the short yet meaningful conversation we had before he left this morning’. Then I sip my coffee feeling so grateful that I took the time to reflect here. Had I not, I wouldn’t have appreciated him like I do right now, and appreciated all those lovely details of our morning.
I write down two more things I am grateful for – my home, my job. I reflect, why I am grateful for my home today? My heavy flannel quilt felt wonderful before I got up this morning. The light peeking through the trees at daybreak was also nice. The sound of the fire I built was so lovely as I sat in my morning meditation. I decide on the fire and write that down.
I think about why I’m grateful for my job today. The bills it is paying, the inspiration it is giving me. The connection with so many people that goes bone deep, is something I am feeling particularly grateful for today. I write that down.
I move onto my to-do list with a feeling of presence and warmth. The stressful details of my day seem less important, minuscule even. The tiny things I was worried about before seem just that – tiny.
This simple practice has turned terrible mornings into less terrible mornings. It has turned feeling guilty over being in an emotional funk into allowing myself to feel how I need to and be grateful for it. It has even turned a bad morning into a great day.
You know the saying ‘misery loves company’? In my experience if I am feeling down, or overwhelmed, stressed out, it feels hard to notice the little simple details of life that might make it better.
Instead I tend to just see all the little details that further prove how awful the day can be. But when I have this prompt in front of me and have to write down 3 things I am grateful for, it allows my mind to start seeing the things that are right in front of my nose that are good, and are so worth slowing down and appreciating.
Have you ever tried it? If so, have you tried adding in the specific detail of why today?
I’ve put together a little 14 day challenge. Can you give it a go for 14 days? See what it can do for you.
If you already have a journal, just start today. If you’d like a little bit of structure or don’t have a journal, I’ve put together a downloadable PDF that you can fill out over 14 days. Click the button below to grab your copy and start this simple yet potent practice.