Let’s talk about gratitude.
We have all heard of it, we all know that doing it every day will make our life a bit better, but it’s one of those things that we don’t always have time to do or you forget to write in your gratitude journal or wherever it is you write it down.
It’s just not top of your todo list.
So let’s talk about why gratitude is helpful for mums, and why it will help shift your mood as well as all the other benefits it has (there are a lot!).
What we focus on expands.
So here is the thing….what we focus on expands.
If we are thinking negative things all the time, then our brain is automatically going to find things that prove your thoughts for you.
We also have, what is known as a negative effect, in our brain to keep us safe – our minds will automatically see the more negative side of things and will be able to remember the negative things first to make sure we don’t do any foolish things that might get us killed.
Good if we see a bear…not so good if we just want to have a good day.
So what does what we focus on expands even mean?
Say for example, you have decided that dogs are dangerous. You will suddenly notice there are hundreds of stories about why dogs are dangerous. They will be everywhere. It’s because your brain has highlighted ‘dogs are dangerous, she thinks about it a lot – it’s important’ and will look for examples of everywhere sub-conciously as evidence to prove your theory that dogs are dangerous is true.
You might have noticed it if you buy a new car – you might have barely seen the car you have just ordered in that shade of blue on the roads before, but suddenly you are seeing them everywhere. You passed three in the last 2 days.
Have you ever experienced that?
It’s because your brain has highlighted that that car is important, and it will search it out for you.
This is called the law of attraction if you are into manifestation.
So what this means is, if you are constantly thinking more negative thoughts about how hard motherhood is, or how you never get any time to yourself, or how expensive everything is – you will suddenly notice more ways in which this is true and things just suddenly seem a lot harder.
Whereas if you are noticing the small things – the glimmers – about how things are good, your brain will start looking for those things that are good, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Suddenly you will be noticing the good things everywhere.
What you focus on expands.
As well as changing our mindset to a more positive one and making us happier – studies have shown there are a lot of benefits from practicing gratitude.
There are definitely more reasons to start than not to!
How do I start?
The idea of gratitude is that every day, morning or night, you can do it morning AND night if you want to you write down three things that you are grateful for.
They could be huge things like I am grateful for my new cooker or the amazing holiday we just came back from.
But for most of us, they are going to be smaller more day to day things (unless a big thing happens) like:
- ‘I am grateful for the coffee I had earlier’
- ‘I am grateful for how much my friend made me laugh today’
- ‘I am grateful for my husband for going to tesco for me earlier when I didn’t feel like it’
- ‘I am grateful for fresh clean sheets on the bed’
- ‘I am grateful for the way the wind felt on my face on our walk earlier’.
But when you notice them everyday, you will suddenly start noticing more of those little things.
You can have a designated journal for it if you wanted to, you can buy ready to go ones or you can just write it in a notebook.
If you journal anyway, you can just write it as part of your journal writing.
You can write it on your daily planner for the day.
Or you can make a point of thinking them.
Don’t get sucked into the idea that it only works if you write it down, it’s the doing it that is important.
It doesn’t have to be perfect.
How I do it
I’ve tried many times to keep a gratitude journal, but I end up forgetting until I was lying in bed at night.
So my method of doing it is, if I am journalling I will write it in my journal in the morning.
Every night, regardless of whether I wrote it in the morning – that is just a bonus go, as I am falling asleep I will think of three things that were good that day or that I am grateful for, and it is honestly a lovely way to fall asleep.
Do you keep a gratitude journal? Or will you try it?
Let me know!