Growing Your Gratitude

Even the most positive people need to tend to their gratitude gardens sometimes.  The soil gets dry, the flowers get wilted, and- let's be honest- it can start to stink.  A month ago, I found myself with a dry, neglected gratitude garden.  I was waking up in the morning and laying down at night thinking about mountains of logistics and small annoyances.  Did I remember to pack school lunch? Oh no, tomorrow is trash day! Did I respond to that email? My daughter was really getting on my nerves tonight. Did I handle that situation poorly? Needless to say, it wasn't a good feeling to live in the muck and I knew something had to be done.

That's when the gratitude journal was born.  Research says that if a person does something for 20-65 days a habit is formed.  So, for 30 consecutive days I went looking for something to be grateful for. The first week, my phone calendar would alert me to find that wonderful thing.  Even though I was out of practice, I was surprised how easy it was to find at least one daily.  A few weeks into the exercise the reminder wasn't necessary; the looking out was happening naturally.  By week 3, I was waking up ready to put on my rose colored glasses with my eye on the prize of LASIK surgery to get rose colored vision (not actually a real thing).  I was deeply appreciating everything from my husband's mad cooking skills to my current dream work situation to my awesome, cuddly daughters.  Suddenly my focus was no longer on every day annoyances but on every day beauty.  What a dramatic and necessary shift!

If you want to shift your thoughts and energy to that which is positive in your life, I encourage you to start a journal.  There's something magical about actually writing it down.  It's a way of putting a stake in the ground to say "Yes! I do feel this way!".  To build accountability and community support into your process, express your daily gratitude on social media.  Let's see how the gratitude seeds spread with in us and around us!  Ready, set.... grow!