Updated: Oct 3, 2019
One of the best things I bought this year was a gratitude diary. I did a yoga class in April and they were selling a 2019 gratitude diary. Given that nearly 4 months of the year was already gone, it was on sale – for $20. I’ve always wanted to do a daily gratitude practice but never managed to do it more than a few days in a row. I bought the diary and set myself to do a mini habit of writing 1 thing I am grateful for every-day (I’ll write more about the power of mini habits in a future post). I am proud to say that I have been writing in my gratitude diary daily for about three months, since 13th of April. Writing at least one thing I am grateful for everyday is training my brain to look for the positive in my life and highlighting the abundance of my life. Looking back in all the entries, one theme emerges and this Maori proverb summarises it beautifully:
He aha te mea nui o tea o
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
Science shows that social connection is one of the keys to wellbeing. Given our brain’s tendency to focus on threats, ruminate about the past, or catastrophise about the future, it’s no wonder that we tend to take what we have right here, right now, for granted. And that includes taking for granted the people that we have in our lives. Writing at least one thing I am grateful for each day has sharpened my perception and focus – people are what’s most important. My children, husband, family, friends, colleagues, the sushi lady, the librarians, random people who have stopped and said kind words about my babies, or strangers who have offered help, or opened the doors to allow room for the “tank” (my nickname for our twin stroller) – they are what’s important in my life. When I remind myself of this, the daily annoyance and irritation of life seems to melt away or rather, my perception of them change slightly. Sure, having two babies wailing at the same time in the middle of supermarket shopping is frustrating and stressful, but by no means so socially embarrassing that I cannot return to the same supermarket again leading to starvation for the whole family (although my catastrophising brain tries to convince me of that).
The science of gratitude is expanding, and the research shows that expressing gratitude offers numerous benefits from improving happiness, mental strength, resilience, enhancing your relationships, and it may even help you sleep better at night. Like mindfulness, expressing gratitude is a skill that you learn and that you practice. The more you do it, the more that you will get out of it. You may already know that practising gratitude is good for you, but like me, as a mum you don’t want yet “another thing to add to the ‘to do’ list” or you are not sure how to create a daily habit that will last.
You’re at the right place! Here are EmpowerMums, you will learn how to start and keep a gratitude practice that will sustain and nourish you as a Mum. Join us at one of our workshops and on facebook in our EmpowerMums village! Come and find out about our upcoming events: https://www.empowermums.co.nz/upcomingevents