I don’t know about you guys, but I can sometimes get down-in-the-dumps or at least in a rut. I remember several years ago, Oprah launched her “Gratitude Journal”….of course, I tried my hand at it, but it didn’t stick. I even bought the OFFICIAL Gratitude Journal…do you do that…hear about something, decide it sounds like a great idea and BUY all the NECESSARY paraphernalia to implement your new endeavor. As if, the “right” journal will make you write faithfully. Recently, I have done this with anti-aging skin-care sets. In the words of a good friend who purchased Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty skin-care line…“I was shocked to find I had NOT sprouted a gorgeous mole and long legs after a week of use….what the heck?!” Humorous, yet somewhat pitifully (at least partially)…. she was in gest speaking the truth. Do we really think if we buy, and loyally use, Cindy Crawford’s product we will become raving beauties….I think in part we might. This is one of many reasons women NEVER fell quite “good enough,” but that is an entirely complex post for a different day.
Back to my point…I purchased all the “right” stuff and still couldn’t will myself to be “thankful.” Sure I could have written… “thanks for my health, my kids health, the roof over my head….etc” and these are really good things to be thankful for and things we take for granted, however…had I written it down it would have been …superficial, not because I wasn’t thankful for those things, but because they would not have been written from my heart at the time. I know they say…“fake it til you make it,” but I am not sure that truly works.
So what do you do….
You’re in a rut.
You are not feeling thankful.
You are down, depressed or disgruntled.
AND on top of the three sentiments above….NOW you are mad at yourself because you ARE NOT WRITING IN THE DANG Gratitude Journal….sigh. A BIG FAT BUST….rrrrrr.
Again, what do you do…
This is what I have discovered and seems to be working for me fairly well. I have made it a habit to think of 3 things that went well, right or made me smile or laugh each night. I was writing them down for about 3 months, which aided in it becoming a constant part of my night-time ritual. I probably SHOULD continue to write them, as it is nice to reminisce (or in my case have an aid for recollection…my memory is shot…ha) as the years fly by, at what was happening a year ago.
I know, I know…what is the difference between 3 things I am thankful for and 3 things that were positive in my day? It is the slightest of a difference, but for me it works somehow. I mean…you can be happy that your teenager ONLY bit your head off 5xs today instead of the normal 20xs….but it is not something that you would necessarily be THANKFUL about. However, you can muster up the mindset to accept it as a positive. Does that make sense? For me, I would be THANKFUL if my teens didn’t bite my head off AT ALL! I can’t feel “thankful” that it only happened 5xs BUT I can put a positive spin on it as progress. I can list it as a positive thing in my day…“hey… wow…so and so only bit my head off 5xs today…SAAWEEET!”
I am not suggesting that your 3 positive things from each day be like the one I used as an example….they will hopefully be more along the lines of...having a nice day with your significant other or an exchange of laughter with a friend or an almost-human-conversation with your teen. The point is for your 3 things to be REAL moments that brought you REAL joy during your day. Nevertheless, as when you begin all new things, the challenge of shifting our mindset can be difficult….so… if one of your 3 positive thoughts just happens to be the fact that you restrained yourself from…. HAULING OFF AND SLAPPING MISS SNARKY-PANTS, AS SHE BOUGHT THE VERY LAST PIECE OF DARK CHOCOLATE EMBRACE GODIVA CHOCOLATE ON THE VERY DAY OF YOUR WORST PMS EVER IN THE HISTORY OF YOUR WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE…. EVEN THOUGH SHE KNEW YOU WANTED IT….well…then….I say that counts as a positive, don’t you….jus’sayin’….for example purposes only, of course!
In all seriousness…give it a try.
List 3 positive things for each day verbally, mentally or in black and white and NO you DO NOT NEED to run out and buy a very expensive pretty journal to partake. If you can only come up with 1…that’s great…it’s one more than yesterday…it is a great start and hey…you can automatically have your #2…the fact that you thought of 1 positive moment is in fact ANOTHER positve….lol.
It may sound silly, but I am finding, even on my horrible days, that I wake up the next morning feeling better if the last thoughts in my mind before I fall asleep are positive. It is so unhealthy that we allow ourselves to dwell in such negative thought patterns or even on the very REAL things going on in our lives. We have to retrain our brain to focus on positive things in our life.
Negativity sucks our energy, our joy, our life.
I am certainly NOT suggesting that we should gloss over our hardships…illness, death, abuse, unemployment, failures etc….we live in a tumultuous world where horrific life experiences are happening to us, our family and our friends….this is why it all the more important to hold on to the simplest joys and cherish the miniscule moments of pleasure.
Nothing is easy, especially when you are dealing with years of habits, as negative thinking often is, BUT it serves us ZERO purpose. It changes nothing.
Try the challenge.
The simple act of challenging yourself to list 3 positive moments in each day will actually wake you up to those moments as they happen. What I mean is, if you take the challenge you will notice and seek out 3 positives, even if only, at least in the beginning, to have something to list. If you stick with it for 2 weeks, it will become easy AND you will feel a shift within yourself. Yes you will still have crappy days. And yes bad things will still happen…it is not a cure-all, BUT you will become more in tune with the good instead of ONLY being in tune with the negative.
Challenge your brain!
Challenge your friends and your kids!
If you’re extremely competitive challenge a friend or family member to see who can do the list for the longest amount of time.
Let me know how it goes!!
Enjoy your day.
Seek out the positive!! 🙂