Keeping a Gratitude Journal

With all the turmoil and uncertainty happening around us, it’s easy to focus on what’s not working in our lives. Our brain has a built in spotlight called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that helps us see and experience thoughts we always think about. These are network of neurons in our brainstem that mediate our behavior, thoughts, consciousness and motivation. Was there a time you were shopping for a certain item and all of a sudden everywhere you look, this item strangely appears? This is your brain zeroing in on what you are focusing on at the moment and it can have good and bad effects. Watching the news too much can overdrive our fear which carries over to our day to day decisions and demeanor. Not that I am promoting being ignorance or socially apathy, but living in fear can lead us into a downward spiral of confusion, anxiety and worse, self-loathing. It’s important to detach ourselves from things we have no control over and instead, focus on what we can control.

Instead of living in FEAR, let us live in GRATITUDE.

Today, let me invite you to temporarily let go of the burdens weighing you down and remind you that in any given moment you have a choice to practice and receive gratitude. You don’t have to be in a perfect place. Gratitude is as accessible as the air we breathe. When we are fearful, we forget about taking care of ourselves because we are too focused on our problems. Gratitude slows our lives down and brings us to the present moment. We open up to self-love that we may be struggling to keep because of unresolved traumas, complicated family dynamics or chronic diseases we are burdened by. Top it off with a pandemic and it can feel demoralizing. If you’ve been feeling stuck lately, as many of us have been, I found that keeping a GRATITUDE JOURNAL helps.

Every morning, physically write down at least 3 things you are grateful. Instead of thinking about the things you NEED to do, reframe these as activities as things you GET to do.

– You need to do a ton chores? You get to organize the household for and make your space less mentally draining.

– You need to finish a report? You get to work which not everyone has the opportunity to.

– You need to prepare your own meals? You get to nourish yourself.

– You need to exercise to lose weight? You get a chance to reconnect with your body and celebrate what it can do.

– You need to sleep earlier? You get to prioritize rest which helps you be more productive.

– You need to resolve a complex problem at home? You get to reconnect with yourself and with your family and live in authenticity rather than fear.

If you’re reading this email, chances are you’re still in a good place right now. It’s not everyday that we get another shot at life.

Adopting a “GET to” mindset rather than a “NEED to” mindset helps us put things in perspective, zoom out and look at the bigger picture.

No matter where you are in your journey, you are still here. Even if things aren’t going well and the future looks bleak, know that in each moment you choose to be grateful, you get to taste of the best this life can offer and that in itself can provide a space for hope.

Stay grateful and have a great day!

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