I Tried It and This Happened: Daily Gratitude Lists!
Last week, I was tasked with meditating everyday straight for a single week. Yes, an entire seven days—no misses. Did I do it? Of course. Was it easy? Absolutely not. And this week the feat was no easier. I challenged myself with daily gratitude lists before I went to sleep. Before I started my journey, I did a bit of research to understand how exactly I should be creating this journal and what to expect. Everything seemed pretty self-explanatory: you take a few minutes out of your night to jot down a few things you’re grateful for. Sure, it was going to be a hassle to remember, but the benefits far outweighed the tiny hassle of remembering to write things down every night. Some of these benefits include feeling calmer at night, lowering stress levels, and gaining some much-needed introspection. Seriously, who wouldn’t want any of that?
And thus, my journey into gratitude journals began. The first night, of course, was a bit hectic. I completely forgot I signed myself up for this and very hurriedly ran to dig my journal from underneath the piles of notebooks scattered in my room. I was exhausted, ready to get to sleep, a bit stressed, and honestly, I didn’t feel like doing it at all. But alas, I did it! While my answers were surface level this day, and I wanted nothing more than to fall asleep in the comfort of a thousand plush pillows, I can say that doing this was calming to say the least. It was almost like a wind-down before I went to sleep. I was able to de-clutter my mind and focus on me, and what made me happy. While it was still a very rushed list, it certainly was a good way to end my night—even if I was drained.
The next six days fluctuated. Sometimes I was extremely excited to get in bed and be thankful, and on the bad days, I dreaded having to think of things I was grateful for. But in many ways, that was the beauty of this experiment I was doing, and perhaps, that is the beauty of gratitude lists. On those days where nothing seems to work out, and you don’t want to see the good in anything because it’s just been that bad of a day, writing these lists forces you to let go of those negative emotions you’ve been clutching to so desperately. It’s also a stress reliever. After a long day, curling up in bed and devoting time to yourself, what you love, and what makes you happy is a beautiful, ritualistic way to end the night. Who knows, you may even figure out a little bit more about yourself. Writing down the things or people that make you happy can help you figure out what to focus your attention on. You can figure out what you should be cultivating, and what you should let die. While I certainly had a few almost-misses this week, it eventually became something I looked forward to. It was a gift from me to me, a way to thank myself, the people around me, the things I love, and the places I enjoy for being present. If you haven’t hopped on to the gratitude list bandwagon, I’d give it a shot! Sure, it’s another thing on your “to-do” list, but the relaxation and de-stressing you could gain, will be worth it!
Cover image via Consciously Woman