Sometimes it helps to focus on gratitude, to think about the simple stuff in life because it is really easy to get bogged down with stress, feeling overwhelmed or feeling like we are not doing well enough.
Thinking about what we are grateful for can help us to focus on the things that really matter, rather than what we don’t have, which can be a toxic and negative way of thinking. So focusing on the positives, no matter how small and simple, can help us experience less self pity and less envy of others because it can encourage us to think about our achievements, what we have in our life and what we are grateful for.
Gratitude has been shown to improve:
- physical health
- mental health
- self esteem
- the opportunities in our life
- how calm we are
- our relationships
- wellbeing and happiness
Some people feel the benefit of writing a gratitude journal/list every night or filling in an app on your phone – focusing on 5-10 things to be thankful for. Keep it as simple and easy as you like so it doesn’t feel like a chore and so it has a positive affect. And you might not need to do it every day, it could be every 2-3 days or once a week but it can be worth building a habit of doing it regularly.
I have used some kind of gratitude journal for a few years now – paper and pen and using an app. I am currently using an app but I am moving back to paper and pen again.
It helps me if I am feeling depressed and bogged down with negativity, it helps me when I am feeling a bit stressed with juggling, it has helped me if it has felt like a bad day and it helps me if my head is just feeling a bit foggy.
I keep it simple but it can include general but important things like being grateful for my health and for my family as well as small and specific things like being grateful for the chance to read my book, for being able to enjoy a movie, for the cuddle from my child, for having the time to write, for being able to take a moment to breathe to stay calm and relaxed. I cam also be grateful for being able to do my job because that means a lot to me too.
My gratitudes rarely focus on material things, they tend to focus on people, activities, emotions and health which is grounding for me and helps me to focus on what really matters. I feel that I have more patience. self awareness and self esteem because of it.
And it doesn’t take long – just a few minutes every night but it provides a bit of positivity to the end of the day.
Janine Smith | A specialist in parent support