Everyone, including myself, needs to remind themselves to be grateful more often.
Life is ultimately really, really great.
Yes, there are tough life situations from time to time. But there are also ways to look at those tough situations in a positive light.
They can be looked at as learning experiences. As ways to grow as an individual. As a way to become stronger. Most everyone you talk to after they’ve gone through a tough situation will attest to feeling they’ve come out ahead in one way or another.
A goal of mine for 2021 is to see the good in all situations and find things I’m grateful for every day. I want to shift my mind to see things from this positive perspective as much as possible.
In life, you can’t control most things, but you can control how you react and what you take away.
How to be MORE grateful
So, you want to become more grateful? Or train your brain to see the good in situations versus the bad?
Here’s how I’m doing it – a daily gratitude journal. It takes maybe 3-5 minutes of my day (sometimes less), but it’s done wonders for how I see things throughout the rest of my day.
I like to include gratitude journaling as an element of my morning routine since it starts my day on a positive note. It also primes my brain to focus on positive things for the remainder of the day.
Your brain is interpreting SO MUCH information each and every day, so you have to do things that teach it what to actually focus on.
For example – you know how when you buy a new car, you all a sudden start seeing EVERYONE (and their mother) with that same exact car? You start to feel really basic really quickly. But I promise no matter what car you bought, the same thing would happen. So don’t worry there.
Anyways, this happens because you’re priming your brain to focus on that type of car.
The same thing goes for gratitude. By priming your brain in the morning by writing down a few things you are grateful for, it will naturally look for other things it’s grateful for throughout the day.
Gratitude Journaling: How to
So when it comes to what you actually want to write about – I want you to keep it simple and SPECIFIC to the 24-hour window around your journal time.
Yes, you can write about how you’re grateful for your friends, family, house, etc. But that doesn’t accomplish the goal of trying to spot gratitude in your day-to-day life. You have to make them more specific to the given time frame.
Here are some good examples for your journal:
- I’m grateful for my dad for bringing me my favorite coffee from Alfred’s this morning.
- I’m grateful for my body naturally waking up at 5:30 am so I was able to catch the sunrise this morning.
- I’m grateful for recently discovering the show New Girls – the episode I watched last night literally made me belly laugh.
- I’m grateful for the nice check-out gentleman at Trader Joe’s yesterday.
- I’m grateful I get to go to Costco today.
- I’m grateful I get to see my grandparents this evening for dinner.
- I’m grateful for Einstein’s chocolate chip bagels, it was yummy as always last night.
- I’m grateful for my amazing night of sleep last night!
See how they’re a bit more specific and relevant to the time frame in which you are writing?
This is what I find works best for training your brain to see more gratitude each and every day. It’s the small things that fill you up and recognizing all those small, amazing things that are happening for you every day is that helps you feel fulfilled.
Re-Frame the Negative Thoughts
Another good strategy to implement is to try and catch yourself when you are having negative thoughts.
Pause. Listen to them. Can you reframe them into a more positive outlook?
Let’s say you’re sitting in terrible traffic on your way to see your grandparents, who you haven’t seen in 6 months. You have a thought or complaint about how annoyed you are to be dealing with the traffic. Pause. And re-frame the negative thought to be how grateful you are to get to see your grandparents. It should result in a pretty instant mood shift.
This practice will take A LOT of time. It’s something you’re going to have to work towards every day for a while, and you’ll never be perfect. But with each time you pause and re-frame your negative thought to something you’re grateful for, you’re one step closer to thinking in that positive light more often.
It takes time, but I promise it works.
There’s a lot of goodness around you all the time, you just have to train your brain to focus on it.
Try it out!
If you have other tips or tricks, let us know so we can share them with the community 🙂