8 months ago, on a lovely February afternoon, I first heard about the gratitude list from a friend. She revealed to me that every single night without fail, she would write down one thing that she is grateful for and add it to a jar by her bedside.
I was so intrigued by the idea that I felt compelled to do it myself. Instead of going through the arduous process of obtaining an appropriate jar, I decided to take the ‘cloud’ route and began using Evernote to track my progress.
I tend to be a bit hard on myself in my strive for success, and as a result I often forget some of the more awesome things that have happened or are happening in my life. When things seem to be on the low, I find that going back and reading through my gratitude list gets me smiling and laughing again.
What started out as merely a neat idea turned into a life habit and is now one of the best parts of my day.
Of late, whenever I see someone doing something awesome for me, or for someone around me, I make it a point to let them know they are going to be added to my list. It almost always puts a smile on their face.
We live in a time and place in which people are so busy that they tend to overlook what others are going through. Consciously being grateful every single day has taught me the value of identifying and appreciating even the smallest gestures.
I won’t lie, there are times when i thought I had nothing to be grateful about. However, I found that after making a slight effort to remember something that i may have overlooked, I started getting out of the rut. Instead of focusing on the negatives, I started scanning for items to be grateful about.
Being grateful doesn’t always mean recognizing what other people have done for you. We sometimes forget to give credit to ourselves for trying and doing something new, pushing boundaries and just kicking ass.
For example, one of the most dreadful things for me was taking cold showers. Someone inspired me to make a regular habit of it. I wrote in my gratitude list of how grateful I was to myself for getting out of my comfort zone and not only trying it not for one day but 30 days straight.
By celebrating these little victories, I found myself being less envious of others, being more generous both to myself and people around me and learnt to be happy with the things provided in this life.
As one of my favorite quotes summarizes happiness “The happiest people do not have the best of everything, they make the best of everything”
Majority of the news we see around the world is negative but, doing a gratitude list helps you scan around your world for the positive changes happening around you and writing about it allows you to relive those moments of happiness.
Shawn Achor in his hilarious TEDx talk – one of the best I’ve ever heard – mentions how taking small and simple changes can rewire your brain for happiness. On top of the list is maintaining a gratitude list, journaling, exercising, meditating and random acts of kindness, and doing this for 21 days straight is surprisingly effective at rewiring your brain into a much more positive person.
So, I challenge you today – go on, start writing 3 things that you are truly grateful every day and come back and tell me about it after 21 days. I guarantee that you will bring a smile to two faces that day.