IT ONLY TAKES MINUTES, BUT IT CHANGED MY LIFE. CAN IT CHANGE YOURS TOO?
It's so easy.
Every night before I go to bed, I take out a pen and paper and I write down three things I felt grateful for that day.
Like doing sit-ups or eating healthy food, while I’m actually engaged in this activity, I barely notice its value. In fact, it sometimes seems silly.
I mean, really, how can jotting down how much I love my dogs, night after night, change anything in my actual life?
But somehow, it does.
If I’m consistent, this habit revolutionizes my sense of connection to the world around me.
It deepens the pleasure in simply living.
And it diminishes my desire to grasp for happiness outside of my daily experience.
Yes, I’m talking about online shopping!
But I’m also talking about spending the present moment worrying about the future.
All of those urges quiet down.
When I make these small notes regarding small moments of gratitude, the impact is huge.
If you’re interested in this practice, give it a try! All you need is a few spare minutes, a pen and paper and the ability to walk yourself through your last 24 hours.
What felt good? What felt warm? What brought that feeling of presence and grounded joy?
I aim for three moments of gratitude but I don’t insist on it.
Sometimes there are more, sometimes less. It’s the time spent feeling into that space that matters.
The key is not to panic if what you write down feels, well, mundane. Or hedonistic. Or frivolous.
Being grateful for chocolate counts!
And definitely don’t get discouraged if you don’t notice a dramatic change right away.
Gratitude practice is, like so many routines, about consistency.
Studies have shown that those who engage in gratitude writing report improved mental outlook, but not until approximately four weeks after beginning the practice.
After 12 weeks, the impact increases exponentially.
Simply putting your attention on gratitude, over time, has the power to profoundly affect the way you see the world.
You just have to stick with it.
I have noticed this in my own life.
When I am consistent about my gratitude practice, my world opens up. I see beauty more easily and I move with more grace through my day.
Invitations to lean towards negativity feel less alluring. I more naturally find myself in a state of grounded connectedness even while, say, going to the post office or driving in rush-hour traffic.
It’s as if a positivity buffer surrounds me. When I’m not consistent, that buffer diminishes. But I can always get it back!
And that’s a good feeling, too—just knowing that even when I have fallen off the gratitude wagon, all it takes is a few simple moments with my own mind, every day, to reclaim that sense of ease in the world.
Elizabeth is a journalist who has been writing about health, beauty and wellness for over 20 years. Recently, Elizabeth has been writing for our worldwide pro-age community at BOOM! by Cindy Joseph. Take a closer look at BOOM! below.
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