We can all agree that at times, its hard to focus on being grateful. Especially as a Caregiver, daily tasks and realities can weigh heavy on your heart and mind. However, being grateful doesn’t mean you are ignoring negative feelings. It’s a way to make a shift and put the focus on some of the positive things that you have in your life and helps to get a different perspective.
The human mind can only experience one emotion at a time, so studies have shown that when you’re in a true state of being grateful, you can’t be focusing on anger, sadness, resentment or stress.
When we refer to a “gratitude practice” we just mean, a daily habit of being grateful. Anytime you make a change, physical or mental, you need to put routines in place to hold yourself to it. Just like going to the gym is a “daily practice” to get fit, a daily practice of being grateful will re-wire the way your brain looks at the world in a more positive way.
Having a daily gratitude practice can:
- Help you create the habit of simply noticing good thing that happen in your day-to-day life…both big and small. This is the beginning of training your brain to become more naturally optimistic.
- Helps you focus on what you DO have and the positive things that ARE in your life. Your conscious effort in the beginning to pay attention to these things will at some point turn subconscious and come with ease.
So now, HOW do we implement this daily gratitude practice? If it was easy, we wouldn’t have to do a blog post on it!…Lets go through some ideas:
- As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, lay in bed and think of 3 things you’re grateful for. Sounds super simple, right? Well it is the first few days when we go through the ‘ol standbys: kids, roof over your head, a significant other, maybe your health….but its around day 5 or 6 that you will start to have to LOOK for new things to be grateful for. It’s here that the big breakthroughs start and the re-wiring happen. You will begin to start to notice the little things in your day that you can use in your morning gratitude practice. That shift of mindset is what makes this so powerful.
- Start a Gratitude Journal. This can be as easy as numbering 1, 2, 3 at the bottom of your daily planer or you can start a notebook just designated to your gratitude practice. The same routine above applies, but this takes it up a notch as you are writing it down. This allows you to have a working list of all your blessings. This record can be referenced at any time and will be especially helpful during times of extreme stress and fatigue.
- Create a Gratitude Jar. You’ll need an empty clear jar, scraps of paper and a pen. Once a day, or whenever the moment hits you, write down on a piece of paper 1 thing you are grateful for. Put it in the jar. You’ll begin to get a visual of all the things you are grateful for because the scraps of paper will accumulate fast! Even better, when you are having a moment where you feel especially “over it”, you can read through all the reasons you have to be grateful through it all.
We hope this inspires you to create a gratitude practice of your own. At Sunways, we’re grateful for YOU and our community of Caregivers who are sharing their heart daily with the ones they love.