Intentional Gratitude and How to be Thankful

Do you ever have nights/mornings where you roll over at an ungodly time, look at your phone despite all your internal dialogue saying, “don’t do it, don’t do it?” 

Ya, that was me this morning.  Good times.

I opened up the phone and immediately remembered all the things I was supposed to do yesterday, this week, heck, this YEAR, and bam!  here it is way too early for me to be up and I’m taking care of at least one thing.

I used to think people that worried about things weren’t doing something right.  Then, I had kids, took over a business, and you know, life actually happened. Now, worry is something that feels attached to me on any given minute of any given day. Smh

This past week, however, I’ve been making it a priority to think about at least 7 things each day that I’m grateful for. (special thanks to the message at my church for this “challenge.” I like to think of myself as being a person of gratitude, but listen, if you struggle with worry (like I do) then you have got to try this!

The first day, it was sorta awkward. I was mentally tallying a list (mostly because I’m too busy to journal but if you aren’t, write this stuff down, it gets better!) The first list was sorta generic. 

Gratitude List #1:
1). Thankful for my family
2). Thankful for my health
3). Thankful for warm clothes
4). Thankful for a full fridge
5). Thankful for friends
6). Thankful for my church
7). Thankful for my work

As you can see nothing deep or philosophical or special. This is what I noticed. Throughout the day, as worries crept up, I would start to relist my “list” and add to it. Plus, at night, I would have my kids tell me their gratitude lists (my daughter really got into it).

Today is day 5 since I (and now my family) have been practicing gratitude daily and let me tell you what I’ve learned.

What I learned from Practicing Gratitude in the Midst of a Pandemic:

1). There is a LOT to be thankful for, sometimes it’s right in front of you and you just can’t see it. (much like your child’s shoe that’s been missing for “days.”)
2). Gratitude shifts perspective which shifts your entire outlook which improves your entire day
3). Gratitude frees up your mind for bigger, better things
4). Gratitude makes you nicer (suddenly, the growing laundry pile is a blessing not a “chore.”)
5). Gratitude leads to gratitude.

The more I practiced this with myself and my kiddos the easier it became.

Now, it’s a fun game to think of the things for which we are thankful. This week, was my least stressful week (minus waking up for no apparent reason) that I’ve had I’m pretty sure all year. 

Have any of my “worries” gone away? Oh, I can assure you not. I still have a 3 and 5-year old, there is a lifetime of concerns right there. The difference is, the concerns aren’t replaying in my mind like a broken record (shows my age, huh?) The concerns come up, I start with gratitude thoughts, and before I know it, those thankfulness ideas and feelings flood over me, and the worries seem smaller.
Hiking with this fella and his sword, this little lady and her stick and my hubby who insists on using our hikes as “training” time for our unruly boxer are just a small sampling of things I’m grateful for. 
What are you Thankful for?
This week, I encourage you to be thankful, even now and notice how your entire day shifts. Watch the weight float off like a big white cloud and the sky clear. You won’t regret it.
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