Gratitude is my new favourite word.
As many of you may have seen on my instagram-stories lately, I have been doing what I call ‘Goodnight Gratitude’. It’s a ritual where I actively spell out one thing every night that I am grateful for before going to bed. I have found, prior to even my research about the effects of gratitude, that the last happy thought instilled a sense of calm in me before going to sleep.
I have found this has not only improved my quality of sleep over the last few weeks but also my mood, sense of satisfaction and productivity. I am spending less time complaining about what I don’t have and more time taking actions that will help me get to where I want.
My dad recently shared an amazing one-liner with me. He said, “you are what you practice”. And since incorporating this habit into my routine, I am starting to live the statement. Now- everyone has those moments of doubt and frustration and I’m no different. But having a regimented time set in my day to think about all that I have has made me cherish who I have in my life. I’m hoping continuing down this path will help me become a better daughter, fiancé, friend and sister. But most importantly, a more content person.
The feeling of contentment is one of my biggest life struggles. I am one of those ‘dream big’ kind of people. And although the side affects of that are mostly positive (I think it makes me driven and work hard for my goals), but it also has a flip side. I am guilty of taking on too much on my plate, the first to sacrifice any ‘me’ time and have very high expectations of myself and my time. It also sometimes feel like I'm after too many things at one time, yet not enough.
The gratitude exercise has helped me see the light. In the middle of what I call my ‘hustle years’, it’s a moment in the day to appreciate what I have achieved so far and the people who have helped me get there.
According to research: Gratitude is an emotion that has the ability to change your brain.
Gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. While not conclusive, research suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and this could contribute to improved mental health over time. In this day and age (and I am guilty of this too) much of our time and energy is spent pursuing things we currently don’t have. Gratitude reverses our priorities to help us appreciate the people and things we do.
The ‘Goodnight Gratitude’ exercise has helped me shift my focus away from the feeling of negativity and the never ending list of unfulfilled desires. Try it with me and tell me how it works for you! Don’t be surprised if you don’t feel dramatically better right away. Be patient and remember that the benefits of gratitude might take time to kick in. Practice being thankful and focus on achievements so you wake up every morning ready to put your best foot forward.
Love and Light,
P.S. Check out this TIME Health article on gratitude: http://time.com/5026174/health-benefits-of-gratitude/