Mindfulness Week Day Six: gratitude

Hibiscus flower in a buttery yellow with dark red throat and stamen red at the bottom to yellow at the top with dark yellow pollen.

Have you been noticing things to be thankful for today? Maybe you were pleased to be able to sleep in today. Or you were grateful for rain or a sunny day or for keeping your indoor plants alive.

Maybe you’re grateful for your partner, children, parents, siblings, or other family members being in your life. Maybe you’re grateful for your friends or club members or a teacher. There’s so much to be grateful for when you start looking. I’ve been doing it every night for well over a year, probably closer to two years, and I haven’t run out of things to write down.

So often the things that capture our attention and energy in our daily lives are the things that aren’t working: the relationships that are a struggle, the stuff you don’t have, the things that didn’t go to plan. Sometimes these themselves are something to be grateful for as they tend to be our best teachers. But what is also true is that while there are many things that seem to be about loss and struggle, there are lots of things that we can be grateful for. And when we are, our mental health improves.

Studies have shown that writing down three to five things that you’re grateful for each evening before bed improves feelings of satisfaction, content, and overall happiness, as well as alleviating depression and anxiety.

So tonight before bed, jot down three to five things that you’re grateful for today. It will shift your mindset a little and, if you keep doing it, your mindset will improve a lot over time and into the future.

© Palitja Moore, text, and image, grateful for a hibiscus on my route to work (when going to work was a thing!), 2020

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