Lately, I've been really into gratitude. I've got this new app on my phone that encourages me to write down three things a day that I am grateful for and it is really making a difference in my level of happiness these days. It's the best anti depressant I can think of that is safe to take while breastfeeding.
Here is what I know about Gratitude:
1. I can express gratitude in a creative way. Creative expression does not always come easily to me but like any muscle, it grows when it is used often. Some people express their gratitude through art, photography, music, collage or dance--whatever activity that gets their creative muses inspired. The reason I started this moms group is because I am sooo grateful for the friends I have made in various groups and also for the incredible wise women in my life who have supported me along the way. I want to take it a step further by sharing my artistic output (creating this group) with my family, friends and loved ones, and even publishing on this personal blog so that I can share with strangers. Sharing gratitude always has a way of inspiring the people around me.
2. I can express gratitude directly to another person. This may be the most effective way of expressing gratitude--doing it directly to another person. This can happen by phone, letter, e-mail or face-to-face. Who in your life do you owe a debt of gratitude to? I owe gratitude to my parents for always being there for me. Could you send a thank-you card or arrange to meet with the person you are grateful for? Be specific on how this person makes you feel grateful. If by circumstance you cannot reach this person, simply writing the letter out and not sending it also is proven to produce substantial boosts in happiness as well.
3. I have started a Best Possible Selves Diary. How does a Best Possible Selves Diary work? Take twenty to thirty minutes to think about what you expect your life to be one, five, or ten years from now. Using your imagination, visualize an ideal future in which you have accomplished everything you've wanted--whether it's in terms of career, self-improvement, education, skills, family or other accomplishments. By keeping this regularly and delving deeper into what you want for yourself for your future and why, you will undoubtedly discover new insights about yourself. I know I have!
4. Practice Seeing the Bigger Picture. Overthinking and over-ruminating seldom solve problems or make us happier. To avoid these mental traps, I practice seeing the bigger picture anytime I find myself distressed, depressed or over-analytical about a problem I'm are currently in. Ask yourself: Will your current situation matter a year from now? How about five years from now? Or imagine that you are a single person on a big planet, which itself is a tiny part of the Milky Way, which is an infinitely tiny part of the entire universe. When you put it in that perspective, how does your problem feel now? If your current situation will matter in a year, think of the important long-term lesson you will get out of your hardship. You may build mental muscles in generosity, compassion, patience or courage. You may gain a compassionate insight in a unique situation which you may then share your wisdom with others who suffer from the same set of circumstances.
Post an intent on how you plan on practicing gratitude starting today and receive support from the mom-ME community. (Example: "My intent is to start a gratitude journal tonight and write in it once a week in the morning.")