Be Grateful

Zig Ziglar is credited with saying: “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.” And he is so right. Of all the emotions we can experience pure gratitude is one that boosts our “feel good” chemicals, increases joy, makes us more mindful, and attracts or brings more good things to our lives. Gratitude costs nothing outside of our effort to be thankful.

Practicing gratitude is like all other things we practice and make habits in our lives. If done daily, even as little as once a day, it can become a habit in as little as 30 days. To do it more than once a day allows us to fully be aware of all the things that we have, that we are thankful for, that are bringing good to our lives. Being focused on these things instead of the things we don’t have, or the things we wish weren’t in our lives, or the things that don’t bring good things to our lives frees us to embrace happiness and joy.

There are many ways to practice gratitude. Mental gratitude – being thankful just in your mind, thinking about the things we are grateful for. Spoken gratitude – speaking out the things we are grateful for. Written gratitude – writing down the things we are thankful for. A combination of gratitude exercises can increase the habit of being grateful daily.

I have been talking about writing as emotional transference quite a bit in sessions recently. Writing can also be very helpful in being grateful to reinforce your gratitude and the habit of being thankful. There are many, many options for gratitude journals online. You can also just as easily use any kind of paper for a journal. You can use a guided or prompting journal that gives you specific things to be grateful for on that date or you can just write about anything you want. There are also many apps that allow you to have gratitude daily. I use the Gratitude Journal – Private diary & affirmations on my phone to keep a daily record of my gratitude. But I also incorporate mental and spoken forms of gratitude during the day and during meditation.

It doesn’t matter what you are grateful for. It can be something big like family, a home, a job, or health or something seemingly insignificant like coffee, a pen, paper, or ink. It is not what you are grateful for that matters it is that you practice BEING grateful every day to increase your own happiness and joy. If you have more on the grateful side of things, you will find that more joy, more happiness, and more things to be grateful for come your way.

Until next time,
Deborah

The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day | Original Creator of The Five Minute Journal – Simple Daily Guided Format – Increase Gratitude & Happiness, Life Planner, Gratitude List

Soar Journal (Notebook, Diary) (Black Rock) (Guided Journals Series)

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Just Be Happy

So many times, people will say to me, everyone tells me to just be happy. The next thing they usually say is, I can’t just be happy. Which, is true, and then again, it isn’t true. They believe they cannot just be happy, and so they are not. But it is not true that they cannot just be happy, if they pay attention to the thoughts that dominate their minds.

I usually follow up with the question, why are you not happy? And 9 times out of 10, I get the answer, I don’t know. Which, is true, and then again, it isn’t true. If there are many negative, self-defeating, self-doubting, self-judging thoughts in their minds, they truly may not be able to pick just one and say, THIS is why I am not happy. But it isn’t true that they truly do not know any reason why they are not happy. People know why they are not happy. They know what they think. They know what thoughts they believe. Acknowledging these things however, is another story entirely.

The next time you find yourself feeling unhappy, stop, and examine the thoughts you have been thinking. Truly look at them. Writing them down is even better, that way you can actually see them. What are you thinking when you are unhappy? It’s not just, I’m unhappy. There were a lot of thoughts leading up to that point. Are the thoughts about yourself? Are they about how you see yourself compared to others? Are they about yourself in relationships? Are they about yourself and your work? Are they about yourself and your grades? Are they about yourself and your family? Notice, every one of those questions included yourself. Almost every negative thought we have includes us. We may say, I am unhappy because my mother expects me to be perfect and think that is only about our mother. It is about how we FEEL about what our mother is projecting onto us. It is about how we feel that we cannot be perfect or good enough. It is NOT about our mother. Every thought has to be examined for what it says about us.

And this is where the trouble comes. If we have to acknowledge that our unhappiness is because of what we think, feel, believe about ourselves and not about others or outside events, then we have to do work on ourselves. We always prefer to have others change, to have events change, but to have ourselves change, that is where we draw the line. And why do we do this? Because we are afraid of what happens if we do change. Because we live in fear.

If we want to just be happy, we have to just be willing to come to the truth of why we are not happy. Start by looking in the mirror and asking questions and really digging down to the bottom line – I am the reason I cannot just be happy and how do I change the only thing I can change – myself.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (adolescent and adult females) for counseling. Please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to schedule an initial consultation.