It’s been proven, time and time again, that when a person takes time to be grateful, their mental health improves. In fact, a whole industry has been created around the practices of gratitude.
How I Do It
Last month, I took a whole day to reflect on my year and be intentionally grateful for the people and things that added value to my life.
Here’s how I did it…I blocked off time on my calendar, collected my journal for note-taking, and sunk into my thinking chair.
First, I took 45 minutes to go back through my 2021 calendar and note all of the places I had been and why – was it a client visit, connection with friends, visit with family, etc…
Then I took about 2 hours to download all photos on my phone and go through them… erasing ones that weren’t great or duplicates. It gave me a strong feeling and impression of what has happened, both good and bad. NOTE: even the things I noted as “bad” led to growth that I am grateful for.
In reviewing these things I saw medical appointments and sports practices and church events for our kids. I can certainly be grateful for those. I’m grateful we have the $ for these things; the amazing doctors and coaches and church leaders in our lives; and that Katherine and I work well together to accomplish it all. We aren’t without challenges, but I’m grateful for what they teach us too.
As I looked at my calendar and photos, I have lots of flip chart pictures. I brought the faces, lives, voices and content of conversations to mind for my clients. I’m grateful for their trust. I’m grateful that I get to do work I love. I’m grateful that my clients are doing cool stuff in the world and they aren’t perfect. These are really good people, who, like all of us, need and want help to grow and always find better ways of doing and being. I’m lucky to get to serve in this way.
I looked at the books that were in my Audible account and thought of what I had learned.
I then wrote in my journal things I was grateful for and what was good about 2021.
It was a great day and my heart was full of love and appreciation for the privileges I have and the amazing people I get to journey through life with.
The Industry of Gratitude
The practice of gratitude isn’t new. There are books, apps and programs everywhere we turn that suggest a “Gratitude Practice”. You could also create your own, like I did on gratitude day. In spiritual small groups… people groan when the topic is “Gratitude” but we all talk about things we are grateful for….and then feel better and more confident.
A common suggestion is that you write down 10 things you are grateful for each morning and use different things each day to the best of your ability.
- They can be “basic” and “Obvious”
- I’m grateful for this water in a bottle right in front of me.
- I’m grateful for warmth in the home.
- I’m grateful for a shed full of firewood.
- I’m grateful that I think the kids are probably safe at this moment even though I can’t see them.
- I’m grateful that Katherine is a great partner and that she loves (verb) me
- I’m grateful that my grandfather is 86 and went hunting with me the other night.
- I’m grateful that my body was strong enough to ride 10 miles on the bike at the gym this morning and I listened to a book on audible.
- I’m grateful that Steve and Jenn (clients) had a great fishing season and that I received a thank you note from a client on Saturday.
The simple act of creating that list puts me in a good frame of mind —a mindset that makes for joy and presence in the moment.
Whether you adopt my practice of Gratitude Day or another habit, I encourage you to embrace the trend. It is one that has real value and can make your days better!
How do you “practice” Gratitude? I’d love to know…