Don’t get me wrong, I am not even close to an ungrateful person. I appreciate so much. When things are down, I try to remember that they could be worse. That being said, I think that BEING grateful for what we have and actually PRACTICING gratitude are 2 different concepts.
I would say that being grateful and appreciative may be a way that we choose to be, but the act of being grateful is not necessarily something that happens on a regular basis or at regular intervals.
I am suggesting that PRACTICING gratitude would be somewhat more ritualistic, like writing something down in a gratitude journal every night, or making it a point to vocalize at dinner every evening what one is grateful for.
Several years ago, I was at a talk being given by the fabulous Gillian Leithman of Rewire To Retire. While Gillian knows A LOT about retirement…that night she was talking about HAPPINESS. I learned something that night that really intrigued me: Science tells us that the human brain cannot scan for both positive & negative simultaneously. If you want to learn more about this just google Shawn Achor – from whom, you can learn A LOT about Positive Psychology. Sometimes, we find ourselves seeing the negative in things. Some people are actually pre-disposed to it. That being said, it’s actually possible, to ‘rewire’ your brain. This can be done for example by making it a habit to name 3 things for which you are grateful on a daily basis. After enough time, your brain becomes primed to scan for the positive as opposed to the negative.
So while I certainly am not what you would consider a negative person, there are days …days where the planet seems to have gone haywire or there is news of negative diagnosis or of death-come-too-soon…and on those days it’s not always so easy to stay positive. I guess my thought is that actually PRACTICING gratitude, in a formal way that is part of my routine, would be a good habit to get into…If for no other reason than to ‘fuel myself up’ , in a sense, for the days where it may be too easy to let the negativity get to me.
I would actually like to bring my whole family in on this thing…
We did it once before but at some point we stopped..I guess things got crazy and like so many other things, it just slipped.
I think it’s a great way to help kids who tend to be anxious, or tend to see the negative, to retrain their brains as well.
Anyhow, that’s it. I’ll start with myself & hopefullly bring the rest of the family on board. Not complicated, but this is my Realistic Resolution #3….Practice Gratitude.
I have a “Happiness Journal” that was created in conjunction with Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”. I’m going to start off by trying to write in it before I go to bed each night 🙂
Feel free to join me on my journey by posting your own feelings of gratitude on social media using the hashtag #PracticeGratitude. We can ‘get grateful’ together 😉
Wishing you a day with much for which to be grateful,