Today I’ll be exploring and writing with an intimate group in Write into Joy on the topic of gratitude. We will be exploring ways in which gratitude can add more joy and strength to our lives. And some of you joined me for 5 Days of Gratitude and tried out some of my favorite practices – thank you for joining me!
I’ve been writing about gratitude all month. That’s because gratitude has super powers. Not only does giving and receiving gratitude feel good, it helps build our optimism and self-worth and counteracts anxiety and sadness. It makes us more generous and strengthens our relationships. It helps us sleep better! And by rewiring our brains for positivity, it helps us grow our resilience. I’m a big fan!
I want to share with you three simple ways to end your day with gratitude.
1. Simply ask, “What am I grateful for today?” and write down three things – no long writing required. It can be just a simple list of three things or you can write as much as you want. In 5 Days of Gratitude, this was the exercise for Day 3.
Here are two variations on that practice.
2. The first variation is to pick just one thing you are grateful for and write about what happened to make you feel grateful and why it made you feel grateful. By writing the sensory and other details you will create a strong memory of that moment. Each strong positive memory we create counteracts our brain’s negativity bias and re-wires us for positivity.
3. The second is a variation that I use often. Write 1–3 things you are grateful for and then write about one person who you connected with that day and one thing you achieved.
Why do I do add in connection and achievement?
Connection is so important for our sense of wellness, and as an introvert and solo business owner, I can spend days alone if I don’t make an effort to connect with others. I am truly thankful for the people in my life and reaching out and connecting with them strengthens our bonds, combats loneliness and increases joy.
As for an achievement, each day is filled with many tasks, and often we finish a goal, check it off our mental or physical list and just move on. But pausing to acknowledge successful goal achievement builds up our internal sense of being successful. And that helps counteract negative biases, like feelings of failure or lack of confidence, and rewire our brain for positivity. Feeling successful even in a small way creates more energy to accomplish more.
Here’s an example of mine from last March to give you an idea (note nothing elegant, just thoughts):
I am grateful for the way Kate (friend) supports me and checks in about my mom’s illness. She makes me feel cared for.
I connected with Mary (colleague) over lunch and we talked about books we’d read over the holidays. She just read Angle of Repose – one of my favorites. It was fun to talk about our businesses as she understands the joys and challenges of running my own business.
I ran a 2-hour workshop at BookPassage and it was well attended and felt like it went well. Got great feedback.
Now it’s your turn. Try one or try each of the practices on different days. I’d love to hear what you think.
P.S. I’ll be running 5 Days of Gratitude again starting December 9th. Some of you joined me in 5 Days of Gratitude in November, feel free to join again as there are some new practices. AND, if you enjoyed the experience, please forward this email to friends and family and share the love. You can sign up for 5 Days of Gratitude here.