Why writing a gratitude list is so important
There’s really nothing like that first sip of tea in the morning. I love that last gulp of sweetness before I surrender to the day. This morning it was in a takeaway paper cup on a crowded train, but I loved it anyway. In a week crammed with the responsibility of school activities, work and long commutes, the calm that it brings is worth savouring. A friend of mine likens a normal week to a military operation, which at the end of the day, rewards you with exactly 47 minutes downtime before you have to get up at the crack of dawn and do it all over again. On my first day at work a couple of weeks ago I was given a fresh white writing pad with “To Do” emblazoned across the top. Another list: Shopping, errands, school, work, packing, really, the list is endless. Then in the middle of all this flapping about, someone suggested to me that I start another one, a little more personal this time, they called it a gratitude list. Horror!
I think the suggestion came because I was surrounded by a quagmire of emotions. Though the thought of plucking out all the little semblances of happiness in my haphazard version of the world seemed too far out of reach. Was I clutching at straws to be grateful that the prices of avocado had dropped or that they’d released Season 2 of the Crown? Coz I’m some days that was all I had. But here in all the chaotic dismembered glory of hot flushes and cold sweats, my gratitude list was supposed to take shape. I scrounged up a couple of entries but was way off my wishlist of 11 things in my life to be grateful for each day. Well, maybe that’s the right place to start the silent shift towards a positive and peaceful mindset.
It sounds like one of these new age notions that people who only live on alfalfa sprouts and kale juice might come up with. Finding that subtle shift of consciousness that aligns your thinking to a happy vibration might seem a little over the rainbow, but there’s really something to it. For those not hip to the idea, keeping a gratitude list is a quick process designed to shift your mood and thinking. You don’t have to be a thanksgiving evangelist, just make a note of what you have to be grateful for. In time, gratitude blossoms like a cloud, filling up space until there’s little room for anything else.
And because the universe is so good at giving back what we put out, the idea of focussing on the good, the positive and the happy, means that more of it will come our way. It’s simply impossible to be thankful and indignant at the same time. So, take a piece of paper, let the billions of things we have to be grateful for roll like beads through your mind and write down the ones that make you stop and say thank you. If it feels hard to get started, some people call it a “Hey, it could be worse” list. But I’ve also heard it in the words of those far older and wiser when they simply say “count your blessings.”