I was once in a dark dark dark dark dark place. I felt broken and alone and didn’t know if I would ever stop being sad. There was separation, sickness (and looming death) and the stress of being a new mom. And I didn’t have a Pacific Crest trail to hike through.
My counsellor suggested a practice that I had heard Oprah rave about for years—in her show and in her magazine. It was a daily gratitude practice. I thought it was corny and told him so. He told me to do it anyway. He made me write down five things I was grateful for every single day. I couldn’t just think about the five things. I had to write them down. The list started as being very simple—a funny Hello Kitty balloon, the sight of my sleeping daughter, finishing a game on my iPhone, a P100 bathing suit for my daughter, watching the royal wedding.
It was life-changing. I saw cracks of light in the darkness and knew that even if my life was bad at that time, it was not ALL bad. It showed me how much goodness there was in the world. It shifted my perspective and I saw that even in the darkness, there was still so much to be grateful for. By focusing on the good, more good came into my life every day.
It’s a practice I still do with until now. It takes five minutes of my time and it takes my attention away from stress and negativity towards what’s positive and beautiful.
Do you keep a gratitude journal? If you don’t, just start and find five things to be grateful for—from the simplest to the most profound. You can write it in a real journal, a corner of your planner or the Notes app on your phone (which is how I started). It will change your life, I promise.