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Practicing gratitude will help you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Don’t let the bad overwhelm you.
For the week of Thanksgiving, of course I chose to write about gratitude. That’s what one does when one has a blog. But as I started writing about my family’s journey through my daughter’s medical and developmental diagnoses, I was struggling. I am so grateful to have her as my child; she’s a badass, hardcore fighter. She’s taught us so much about fortitude and persistence and love. Every day, she fights through so many obstacles to meet her goals. She doesn’t care about our goals; she has her own and those are the ones she works for. I wouldn’t change her, unless I could somehow make life less challenging for my baby.
Through all of the challenges we’ve faced, my husband and I have kept going, leaned on each other, and just kept it together. Our strength comes from insight into our personalities, our strengths and weaknesses, and an inborn optimism we both share. We expect great things from our little girl, including a healthy dose of proving the doctors wrong.
Gratitude generates gratitude
Focusing on gratitude each day will make the practice easier. You will begin to see the good in the world, even when everything is so crazy. It takes a concentrated effort to stay positive and see the silver lining.
1. What is one good thing you experienced today?
One positive interaction can change your whole day. Today, my youngest was belting out “Moana” at the top of her lungs, completely off key. She sounds terrible, to be honest… but I am amazed at her confidence. At 19 months she has no self doubt, no reason to be self-conscious. That is just one good thing I experienced today.
Find one thing that went right, one thing that made you smile. Write it down on a slip of paper, and put it in a jar. At the end of the month or the year, dump that jar out and read about all of those little moments that made your life better.
2. How did you feel and show love today?
It’s important to notice how others make you feel loved, but it’s also important to ensure others know that you love them as well. Show the important people in your life that they matter, every day.
Love can be a vague description too. I wouldn’t say “I love you” to my daughter’s therapists, but I appreciate them and know they care about my child and my family. It’s important to tell people how you appreciate them, and often.
3. What is one thing you can do tomorrow to make it a better day?
Each night, think of one simple way you could make tomorrow better. One simple action could improve your whole day. One good day could turn your whole week around. It’s impossible to know the positive repercussions of your actions when you’re focused on practicing gratitude.
If you have to, write down your one thing. Put it in a note on your phone, or a reminder attached to your alarm. Make sure you keep the one thing in mind all day, and make strides toward accomplishing your goal.
Reading your child an extra story, hugging everyone in your family, or telling a loved one why you love them are all easy to do but so effective.
It’s hard to practice gratitude, but it’s necessary
I loved this article by Mindful for gratitude ideas. There’s even a meditation included to help your practice.
Your mental health is important, especially now. You need to take care of yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty cup has been floating around the internet lately, but it’s still true. Practicing gratitude is an easy way to fill your cup up, just a little bit each day. It is cumulative, and your life can only improve from practicing gratitude.