I'll be honest here, this past winter was a tough one for me. It was cold, snowy (for NJ!) and had me down in the dumps! I always have a harder time in the winter months due to the lack of sunlight (vitamin D), so that had a lot to do with it also. I found myself moping around a lot with a lack of energy. I noticed my inner voice was a huge 'Debbie Downer.' It got really annoying, real quick for me so I decided I needed to do something to shake my winter blues!
When I was studying at the Yoga Institute in India, each night before bed we would have to list 10 things that we were grateful for that day. At first, I found this very annoying. I was exhausted and cranky by the time I would get to bed and I would rush through thinking of anything I could write to be done with the assignment. The next morning we had to hand the list in. We were never told what would come from this exercise, only that we had to do it!
What I began to find as the days went on was that I did start to take that list more seriously and I started viewing so many of my experiences of each day as gifts. I began feeling intense gratitude for each sentence I wrote on my list. I started sleeping better and waking up with an open heart. I began appreciating so much more, finding miracles everywhere. It was such a beautiful practice. At the end of the week we handed in our last sheet and asked what that assignment was for. They answered (with a hard Indian accent), "When you're grateful for all the many things you have, you'll stay present and in the moment rather than desiring things and dwelling on things you don't have, while enjoying all the many things you are blessed with." Beautiful and so true!
So, to relieve myself from these winter blues, I had a blank journal sitting on my shelf and dedicated it as my gratitude journal. I began writing 10 things that I was genuinely grateful for down each night before bed and soon enough I was feeling lighter, happier and ever so fortunate for my beautiful life. It's now late Spring, but my gratitude journal rests at my bedside and although I don't write in it every night, a few times a week still does the trick. I encourage you to do the same and to observe what happens in your daily life after the fact. It really does shift your thinking for the better!
Directions for Writing in a Gratitude Journal:
1. Choose a beautiful journal and keep it at your bedside with a writing utensil.
2. Before bed, grab your journal and jot down 10 things that you were grateful for that day. It could be anything from my amazing and supportive family to my car that takes me safely where I need to go, the delicious cupcake I had at work, etc.
3. Drift off to sleep.
4. Wake up and start your day. Notice what happens to your way of thinking after a week or two of this practice.
5. Enjoy all that you are blessed with!
Keep it fresh!