In 2017, I began a sporadic practice of sitting and writing down what I am grateful for. I would start out with the intention of writing down three things- just three things in my day or life in general that I was grateful for. Sometimes I would do this after a really great day, when I was in a great mood, but more often than not I found myself writing when I was feeling off and unhappy. When I felt alone in the evening before bed, I would write down what I’m grateful for.
It can be anything really, from having a great cup of coffee in the morning to the good health of my family. Whatever it is, no matter how small, it still has an impact. More often than not, my list of three turns out to be a page long (which is about 20 lines!).
As I am writing, what happens is I begin to focus on the positive of my day. I stop focusing on how I am lonely or feeling down [insert whatever negative emotion is relevant for you], and I think about something I am thankful for. Something that brought me joy that day, or something that made my day bearable. This reflection causes a shift in my mindset that I think is pretty amazing. It can transform my whole mood and perspective. The grasp of the loneliness I may be feeling is slightly lessened. The weight of whatever it is that brought me down that day is not nearly as heavy as it was before. I go to sleep feeling lighter, with a bit more peace inside.
It is so easy for us to become engulfed in something that is upsetting us. The negative feeling can be suffocating, and we as humans naturally tend to get tunnel vision focusing into that situation and emotion. The negativity can become our entire world and be so powerful in this moment. I also find a cyclical effect occurring when I get upset – I think of the situation, replay it in my head, and I feel the emotion over and over and over again.
Writing down even one thing I am grateful for, focusing on a little positive in my day, really helps me to start to break that cycle of negativity, so I can let go. So how about you give it a try? Try to write down three things you are grateful for and see how you feel!