Sunday, April 7, 2013

April Gratitude Project - Day 7

Image from Landee See, Landee Do
I've made it through week one of this gratitude challenge. It continues to fascinate me. Here are my week one observations:

- First of all, the daily reminders I set for myself on my computer were driving me crazy. Every two hours or so a pop-up reminder would come up, asking me to think about something I'm grateful for. I found it extremely annoying. I like jotting down five things in the morning and at night. It seems like a good way to bookend my day. But having all those other reminders throughout the day was a giant pain, so I reduced it to one reminder in the middle of the day where I would write down five things and leave it at that.

- Another issue I had was that it started to get boring for me, always thinking about gratitude. Just plain boring. I didn't always feel like doing it. This taught me to look at these gratitude practices as more of a discipline, like exercising or writing or practicing a sport. Like any discipline, there are going to be days where you don't feel like doing it, but in the long run you'll be better for it. It occurred to me that to get out of a rut, you have to change things up. If you're getting bored with going to the gym every morning, you might try hiking instead so you don't give up exercise altogether. I think practicing gratitude is the same way. I've been composing a list of other more creative ways to experience gratitude. Look for that in a future blog post.

- I don't know if it's possible that an attitude of gratitude has the power to bring more amazing things into our lives, or if it's just a way of tricking our brains into being happy. I suppose either would be fine. I bring this up because the more grateful I am the more it seems like other good things are happening. For example, the biggest challenge for me is being grateful for where I live. I'm constantly complaining about my apartment and the neighborhood, and most of all, the g-damn front gate. When it slams shut, it sounds like two cars crashing into each other, and the gate is right next to my apartment. But I made a point to be thankful for the few things I do like about this place. Long story short, the management company sent someone out to fix the gate because they know how much I hate it and now it doesn't slam shut anymore. It barely makes a noise. I feel like I have my sanity back. Did this happen because I learned to be grateful? Maybe. Is it just pure coincidence? Possibly. Something to pay attention to this month.

- I'm learning that practicing gratitude doesn't mean you'll be happy all day every day. We're still human. We're still going to feel angry or sad or upset. You can find something to be grateful for in a crummy situation while still being upset. I think you can experience both those feelings simultaneously, and that's okay.

Oh man, okay, I have a billion more things to write about, but I'll leave it at this for now. I'll try and write more frequently to keep the posts shorter. Stay tuned! Hope you are all having a month filled with gratitude.

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