Prolonged days of stress, lack of sleep, placing pressure on yourself to do better and to do more…sometimes life can seem a long list of unexciting ‘to do’s that it’s hard to notice any good things at all. We forget to see and appreciate the small things in life.
For those who know me, believe it or not I was prone to being a very negative person. Highly self-critical, with previous strong morals of how the world ‘should be’ (and that was 100% full of love and peace of course!), it could be hard to take a much needed step back. After months on end of feeling drained and feeling negative, I decided to switch up my habits and start a Gratitude Journal.
I came across the idea by reading INC’s article about Shawn Achor’s bestseller, ‘The Happiness Advantage’. I had nothing to lose, so decided to try noting down three acts of gratitude a day and journalling about one positive experience. The result was shocking.
I began to realise that during my ‘disastrous days on end’, I was missing small but precious moments that made me happy. The purr of my cat, the scent of my morning cup of coconut chai tea, the smell of fresh air and even more substantial things like the meals kindly prepared for me by my partner. It was really quite eye-opening to realise that I was missing all of these things due to placing too much focus on the negative things in life.
During any one ‘bad’ day, I could still always list 3 things to be grateful for (no matter how ‘mundane’) and I began to realise that a lot of our life experience is simply where we place our focus. If you’re as geeky as me, even discovering a new formula in Excel can make it on the list! The point is, sure there are some days that are clearly outright bad, but there is always something to be thankful for and we should acknowledge them and be grateful.
My advice to anyone feeling like they are having a succession of bad days that is to try creating a Gratitude Journal. The act of writing down the small things in life that we are grateful for is extremely rewarding, making us realise that there are so many things that we can be thankful for even if our day hasn’t gone well.
Since writing the Gratitude Journal, I feel that even a ‘bad day’ is now classed as ‘just another day’ in my book. All it took was a couple of months to naturally retrain my brain on what to focus on. Sure there will always be the stresses of life, but you can always be grateful for the small things – in my case it’s a cup of tea, stroking the cat and a hug from the other half.
INC’s article on Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage
Shawn Achor The Happiness Advantage on Amazon UK