You know the expression, "If I didn't see it, I wouldn't believe it"? I feel that way about gratitude. It seems as if all over social media and in every inspirational speech gratitude is mentioned. It's like "Gluten Free" - it's seemingly everywhere and everyone is on the new gratitude diet.
At a certain point, curiosity got the better of me, and I tried it. If so many people were talking about how transformational gratitude was, there had to be something to it. I tried it and have never looked back. But, it wasn't easy.
First, there was getting into the habit of stopping to acknowledge and write down the small to large things that I was thankful for in my life. I had to add being grateful to my to do list. It seemed strange to see a reminder to do something that I probably should've been doing without thinking. The reminder made me feel a bit like an ingrate. But I persevered.
Stopping for as little as 60 seconds to reflect on what good things were in my life honestly felt magical because it was changing the way I was seeing. It was as if I was looking back into the previous 24-hours and picking the most beautiful flowers from the field of my day. Day after day of adding to my gratitude journal I was growing a full-size garden of lovely things that I most likely would never remember if I hadn't written them down. Day after day I was beginning to recognize, in the moment, things that were causing my heart to swell with the feeling of being blessed for having x, y, or z moment happening. My relationship to my life was deepening. I was moving away from going through the motions of living to feeling life happen to me in real time. Practicing gratitude was allowing me to be in the moment. It was an unexpected outcome that I am, well, grateful for cultivating.
I know how much happens during a caregiving day. On the busiest days there literally isn't time to think, let alone think of what you can add to a gratitude list. But what if you dared yourself to try it, even to find one thing and simply think of it. Not write a list of five things but think of just one thing. One thing in your day that you saw, did or felt that brought you a smile. A robin on a tree branch, a kind word from a stranger, a peaceful moment with the person for whom you care. Nothing complicated, something simple.
If I didn't try it myself and see a transformation in my perception of life around me, I would not be sharing this suggestion.
Feel free to share one thing you for which you are grateful. I'll go first!