The recommendation to make a daily gratitude list has become so common that your brain might be shutting down right now. Yeah, yeah, you grumble. The research is clear that sitting down each evening to list blessings in your life can increase happiness and well-being. And everyone older than three or younger than ninety knows it. “Lay off us, we’ve heard it before,” you may be thinking.
I struggle with it too. I know reciting my gratefulness can enrich my life, tempering the days I spend listening to woes galore. But do I do it? I’m just a lowly human being, and maybe this struggle is another way psychologists are just like you! When I’ve tried, I quickly get into a “CD on repeat”-type litany, writing about the same loved ones, health, strength, and security day after day. Starts to sound like blah, blah, blah in my head, and I doubt how that low level rumble can even make a dent in my psyche.
Doing my duty as a psychologist, making an effort to improve my skills, I was listening to an online seminar in my car. Selfishly, often: I want to improve my bag of tricks for clients and blog audience, but I also like to make my life easier. The name-escapes-me-today (see, I forget, just like you) speaker said that, in an effort to fulfill his own gratitude practice, he tries to find a new experience or moment to savor each day. This motivates him to move through his day mindfully, given that mindfulness also enhances our perception of living a good life. Throughout the day, he checks in routinely, keeping part of his brain attuned to new experiences or moments to appreciate.
I liked this. In even the worst days, there is at least one thing that lights me up, makes me smile. A kindness, a compliment, a hug. Often, there is one small item that makes me smile–or laugh out loud. I often text these ‘finds’ to my daughters, as a fun way to keep in touch. I think I could do this. I set out to add this to my practice of bits of life to notice.
Meanwhile, the other challenge in my head lately is exactly how to jump into Twitter. The promise is that Twitter could increase my exposure, help me share my expertise, build my business. Since I announced my intention to do so, it’s been like learning to drive a car with a clutch. Shift, stall, grind the gears. NOT quite as bad as sitting in the ’67 VW at the top of a hill with my dad alternately cajoling and yelling at me. But a struggle, to figure out what might shine even a tiny bit in the vast Twitter universe, making my comments worth a follow.
Grind, grind, go the gears in my head, chewing up gratitude ideas with tweets. The result that spewed out is my new daily gratitude practice. Each day*, my goal is to notice and tweet one event that made me smile. Since it appears that a clothing company already has a campaign linked to the hashtag #dailysmile, I’ll be using #dailysmiles.
Join me, won’t you? Follow and retweet–or let me inspire you to notice and tweet your own daily smile.
*(hey, I’m warning you, I’m only human.)
4 thoughts on “Daily gratitude practice, updated.”
I used your insightful idea today about countering my “To Do” list with an equally rewarding, “Did Do” list! I was in the middle of my long To Do list, and being Sunday it was all the things I love to do and find relaxing on my Sabbath, when
I was interrupted by an unexpected visit from a friend suffering from cancer but out and about on this day, his birthday. I sat with him for 2 hours, drank tea, enjoyed my son joining us and my husband’s humour.
What I Did Do far outweighed what i did not get do on my To Do list.
Thank you Ann! What an inspiration!
Sunday, spontaneous visit with an old friend, added to my gratitude list.
The way my life has been going lately, I’m grateful for everyday and for everyone I see in that day.
I am a horrible Tweeter. Being named Robin hasn’t helped one whit.
I just have no interest in it. I try every once in a while and quickly lose interest.
I’ve not made a daily list as you suggest, but I am good at my daily what I want to get done list. I remind myself ( but not enough) of my blessings. I like the suggestion, though, of adding what am grateful for, to my wish list of writing objectives.