* This article was originally published on Simply Laura Leigh *
Right now it seems like you can’t turn on the TV or go on social media without being bombarded by negative news. Between COVID-19, social distancing, school closures, lockdowns, and politics, its easy to feel completely and utterly overwhelmed. In a matter of just a few weeks, our world has been turned upside down. And we have no idea when things are going to get back to “normal”.
It’s understandable if all of this is making you feel anxious, fearful, or even depressed. Most of us are cycling through a wide range of emotions on an almost daily basis. I think that it’s a normal way for us to deal with a completely abnormal situation.
Luckily there’s one simple thing that you can start doing right now to help fight all that negativity. And best of all, it doesn’t require any special equipment or preparation. What is it? You can start to cultivate gratitude. Despite all the negative things going on in the world, there’s an equal number of good things and good people making those things happen. If you can start focusing on those good things and good people, you can begin to shift your perspective from one of fear and anxiety to one of happiness and positivity.
So how can you start cultivating gratitude? One of the best ways is by keeping a simple gratitude journal. It doesn’t need to be fancy. It can be a simple notebook or you can download the gratitude journal printable I created to help you get started (get it at the bottom of the page)
How to get started
To get started with your gratitude journal, choose a time in the evening to sit down and reflect on your day. First, think of one or two things that happened that you’re grateful for. These things don’t need to be groundbreaking, in fact sometimes it’s best to focus on the small everyday things. These can be simple things that made you smile or helped to make your day a little easier. A few examples would be;
- A kind word someone said
- Being able to get outside in good weather
- Having a good meal
- Something funny your kids did or said
- Your spouse emptying the dishwasher for you
- A phone call with a family member
Once you have your one or two things take some time to think about WHY you’re grateful for them. How did they make you feel, how did it impact you? Really take time to reflect on your why.
Next comes the most important part. Think about what you can do to express your gratitude to the people in your life. Did your husband take the kids for an hour or two so you can get some quiet time? What can you do tomorrow to show him that you’re grateful for his help? Did your kids have a great day with their school work and stay on task? What can you do tomorrow to show them that you appreciate their help with distance learning? Can you play their favorite board game with them or can you let them have a special dessert after lunch?
The reason that some people feel that a gratitude journal doesn’t work for them is that they’re leaving out that second part. While being able to recognize what you’re grateful for is a wonderful thing. It’s vital to take the time and effort to express your appreciation to the people in your life. By doing so you’ll strengthen relationships and build deep life long friendships. And those strong bonds are vital to helping you improve your mood, beat depression, and overcome whatever obstacles life throws at you.
So if there is one thing you take away from all of this it’s that being grateful is only half the puzzle. The other half is expressing that gratitude to those around you. If you can do both then regardless of what is going on in the world you’ll feel at peace.
Download your copy of the Weekly Gratitude Journal now to help get you started on your gratitude journey today!
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