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Hope Through Authenticity

Gratefulness and Mindfulness: A Perfect Pairing

“Because it’s not depending on specific events, gratitude is long lasting and impervious to change or adversity. It requires an emotional involvement.”

“…concluded that gratitude may have the highest connection to mental health and happiness.”

~The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan, emphasis added

It’s Thanksgiving week in the US, so what better topic than gratitude? We all know what a gratitude journal is. Many of you likely have one or have had one in the past. When I was intentional about gratitude, this is what I discovered.

ONE: It’s easy to fall into a generic list.

I’m always thankful for my family, for my health, for my prosperity, for my freedom, etc. etc. These became rote and while true, this list didn’t put me in touch with myself. So …

TWO: You have to be MINDFUL to find true gratefulness

Once I decided not to repeat the rote list, I challenged myself to find five things a day to appreciate. I wanted to be very specific. This forced me to be mindful all day to look for ways to be grateful. If I needed to remember five things by bedtime, then I needed to discover at least ten (memory begins to fade with every year).

In order to find five legitimate gratefulness contributions, I have to STAY IN THE MOMENT. Stay MINDFUL to what and who is in my life right now.

Can you name five very specificthings you are grateful for TODAY? And, again, it can’t be the obvious stuff.

Here are mine for today:

  • The tree across from my work area is finally changing from green to gold.
  • The pomegranate in my oatmeal was perfectly tart (and I didn’t spill any juice on my shirt).
  • We have the right size Band-Aid in the cabinet for my toe.
  • My dog emptied his toy box and even though it left me a mess, he was having a great time.
  • My normal personal trainer was out, so I had a young guy and he was much easier on my old self.
  • I had breakfast with a friend I don’t see often – great mid-week treat.

Do you see what I mean? I had to pay attention – stay mindful – all day!

THREE: Challenging myself helps improve relationships.

In her book, The Gratitude Diaries, Ms. Kaplan suggests showing gratitude to your significant other. She recommended the following:

“…send a daily sentence-completion email to their partners with two sentences.

One thing you did lately that I appreciated was ….

One moment when I felt extra positive about you was …”

I did this with Dave. He LOVED it and he started sending me something similar. Again, though, you have to be MINDFUL and INTENTIONAL because you can’t repeat the same thing over and over again.

Here are a few of mine:

  • I appreciated that you cleaned the kitchen when you saw that I was tired.
  • I appreciated that you get up a few minutes early to walk the dog with me before you go to the gym.
  • One moment I felt extra positive about you was when you read my blog and made authentic comments to show me how you support me.
  • One moment I felt extra positive about you was when you noticed I had re-organized the bowls.

If I can’t repeat the same thing over and over, then I have to search for new ways to be grateful. Amazing! Our relationship improved overnight! I haven’t done this for him in a while and since I know he’ll edit this, here goes.

  • Dave, I appreciate that you are supporting me in my new eating plan and keeping difficult food items out of the house.
  • Dave, one moment I felt extra positive about you was when you were patient about my impulsive spending. You are helping me find strategies to stop, without being angry and pushing me further into a pit.
  • Dave, I appreciate that you are willing to do all the kitty maintenance.

In Conclusion

I’ve gotten out of the habit of intentionally finding ways to be grateful. I will start that again because it was very helpful – emotionally and relationally. Can you keep me accountable?

I highly recommend The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan – just look at the table of contents. She has gratitude suggestions: partners, parents, weight loss, health, career, money … every aspect of life.

Warning: my next few blogs may be more about gratitude. Next week, I’ll show gratitude for my children.

Let’s not wait until Thanksgiving to be grateful. Be grateful every day – send that attitude into the world and more will be returned to you. I promise.

One Last Thing

I am grateful for every reader – every day!

I’d love to post your grateful list. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

RESOURCES

Here’s a link to Ms. Kaplan’s book: https://smile.amazon.com/Gratitude-Diaries-Looking-Bright-Transform-ebook/dp/B00SI02C3C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538504296&sr=8-1&keywords=janice+kaplan

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    In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....

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