Saturday, April 13, 2013

April Gratitude Project - Week 2

I'm grateful the front lawn outside my apt is starting to look pretty.
I am now two weeks into this month of gratitude, and I have to say, I think it is having a very positive effect on my mood. I find myself feeling more joyful. More and more I find myself in a state of gratitude without having to force myself to think of stuff. It's becoming more natural. All in all, it's a pretty cool exercise. And it's so simple. You just have to think of things you're grateful for and write them down. It really doesn't require much time or energy.

I was going to write a whole post about ideas that will help cultivate an attitude of gratitude, but it started sounding like those stupid articles with titles like "10 Ways To Fall Asleep" or "How To Have More Energy." You know the ones I'm talking about. They have a catchy title, but then you read it and quickly realize it's all bullshit you've heard before like "listen to soothing music"  or "eat nuts" and you wonder how it's possible for the same articles to get recycled over and over again every year.

So instead of writing a whole post about it, I figured I'd just summarize some easy ways to help you feel grateful. It's nothing new. Just some good reminders. You can: 

-Tell your loved ones you're grateful for them via email/letter/card/text/chat or in person.
-Put gratitude reminders up around your house--inspirational sayings and what not.
-Write a Yelp review for a business that gives you amazing customer service.
-If you're into photography, take a picture of the things you're grateful for each day.
-When a crappy situation occurs, try to look for the good in it.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it's pretty amazing how much lighter I feel after these two weeks. I had a situation last weekend where I locked myself out of my apartment early in the morning and didn't have my phone with me and had to borrow a neighbor's phone and call the locksmith, blah blah blah. It was crappy, and while I was waiting for the locksmith I was starting to get really angry at the situation. It was already ruining my whole day and the day had barely begun. So I started focusing on the good things in the situation: glad my neighbor was awake and loaned me her phone, glad this didn't happen when I got home late the night before, glad there's a number posted out front so I knew who to call, etc etc. I literally felt my mood shift from frustration to contentment within a matter of seconds. I've never experienced that before. I find myself ruminating less and gratitude-ing more. It's bizarre and awesome.

My only struggle is figuring out how all this could apply to a real tragedy. I think of the Sandy Hook shootings and I can't imagine ever suggesting those parents try to live a life of gratitude. Do you know what I mean? It's such a terrible, terrible loss. I just can't fathom finding any good in the world after that, other than maybe being grateful for the love and support of family and friends. I don't know. I've been wrestling with this all week. 

If you've been practicing gratitude this month, I'd love to hear about your experiences. Let me know how it's going or if you've learned anything new about yourself.

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