The Power of Gratitude

The Power of Gratitude

There are many benefits of practicing gratitude. The most obvious is your mental wellbeing, including your resilience to negative situations or embarrassment.

Here is my personal story about an embarrassing moment that I was able to laugh off due to my personal resilience that I have been able to build up and nurture over the years through practicing mindfulness and gratitude journaling.

My Embarrassing Story

My best friend from high school was getting married and she asked me the highest honour of being her Maid of Honour. Of course, I excepted. Getting ready with her on the big day, my nerves started creeping in. It was not even my own big day but the thought of walking before her down the aisle, in front of all her family and friends as well as her soon to be in-law family, most of which I had never met before, was terrifying.

Before walking down the aisle, the celebrant came to us to calm the brides nerves and then turned to me and said, “Now, you and the best man are on canon duty!” My instant thought was, what on earth is “canon duty”? She showed me a cylinder and said you just twist it and confetti shoots out over the bride and groom when they do their first kiss… Oh ok.. I can do that!

After walking down the isle without tripping over and the bride and groom had exchanged their vows, it was time for the kiss. I replaced my bouquet for the canon and BANG! I screamed with surprise! The best man did his job beautifully and shot the perfect shot over the bride and groom… me however… well I shot the confetti canon right into my Fa-Jay-Jay!! Yup! That’s right! I was holding the canon up-side-down and it blew up right into my crotch! OUCH!

The crowd roared with laughter at me and cheered for the bride and groom. I couldn’t believe my own mistake!! Neither could the photographer or celebrant, both bent over in laughter and saying how brilliant it was!

All evening, guests came up to me congratulating me on my failure and we all had the biggest laugh about the whole thing. Trust me, of all people, to be holding the canon up-side-down!

It wasn’t until the next day that my husband cuddled me on the couch and he told me how proud he was of my strength of character. He must’ve read the confusion on my face because he then went on to say that a lot of people would have found it mortifying and want to burry their head in the sand, and here I was still enjoying my night, laughing at my own misfortune and whilst completely embarrassed, I wasn’t letting that spoil my mood and I went on to have one of the best nights I’ve ever had.

Now, I have to put in a side note here before I go on to say my resilience to this mistake is solely due to my gratitude practice. My good night would not be such a simple thing had my best friends been a bride-zilla and crucified me. It goes without saying that she is one of the most understanding people I have ever met and she found it equally as funny as the rest of the guests.

But lets go back to being reliant here. What I have learnt since COVID-19, is that when all you think about is negative things, when something bad happens – no matter how big or small, it fills your mind and body like a disease that manifests and grows. This is why I stopped watching the news and keeping track of COVID numbers and deaths. Instead, I started gratitude journalling. Everyday I would force myself to find one thing that gave me joy for the day. Being locked down at home with two toddlers was near on torture by myself, so I focused on nature; The bird that washed and fluffed his feathers in our bird-bath; sitting in the sun and feeling the warmth on my face; going to the supermarket and finding a prized packet of pasta (even though it was wholemeal and not what I normally get).

After lockdown, I kept up with the practice and still do it today. I add things both small like what I was documenting during lock-down, and big such as having sold one of my biggest paintings to date or when a retailer asks to stock my work.

My point is, my mind is so focused on finding positive things to journal about at the end of the day, that when something negative happens, it’s not something my mind consciously lingers on because it is already refocusing on finding the next good thing that I am going to journal about.

It is truly a magical gift that I give myself each day and it has built me into being the most resilient I have ever been in my life. I honestly cant recommend it enough.

If you too would like to start to practice gratitude journaling, there are countless ways to go about it. I prefer to write them down in my journal by hand. There is something very therapeutic about the slow rhythm of hand writing in a paper journal. I also choose to have a separate journal just for my gratitude journey. That way if I am having an off day (which we all have) I can go back through this journal knowing that is only houses memories that are going to uplift me and realise just how beautiful life is. This is why I developed my own Little Book of Gratitude with my calming landscapes on the cover, to help entice others to find the joyful uplifting process of mindfulness and gratitude too.

Gratitude Journals Available Here

If you’d like to start gratitude journaling but don’t know where or how to start, here are some prompts to help get you going. Just choose one prompt a day that appeals to you most.

 

50 Gratitude Prompts

  1. Pick a random photo, and write about that moment that bought you joy and why you are grateful for it.
  2. What is one skill or quality about yourself that you appreciate the most?
  3. Close your eyes and think about a moment where you felt appreciated or cared about, write it down.
  4. What food makes your body feel the best?
  5. What are 5 things you do to look after yourself?
  6. Write down your favourite encounter with an animal?
  7. Describe your favourite location.
  8. Write about your most loved quality of your favourite person?
  9. What activity do you enjoy doing the most?
  10. When did someone smile or laugh at something you did? How did that make you feel?
  11. If you were part of nature, what element would you be and why?Th
  12. Write about a time someone you loved did something for you. How did it make you feel?
  13. Think about your favourite food. Write about the way it smells, the texture in your mouth, the taste and how it makes you feel while eating it.
  14. What do you love learning about?
  15. If it were a snow storm outside, what would be your perfect indoor day.
  16. If it were a glorious sunshine day, what would be your ideal outdoor day.
  17. Imagine your perfect start to your work day, what does it look like?
  18. What was the last thing you did for yourself? How did you feel after?
  19. What season/weather is your favourite? Why?
  20. What is your favourite feel-good song? Why?
  21. What is your idea of the perfect life?
  22. Look around you, describe the nearest tree.
  23. What is your favourite childhood memory?
  24. What about your childhood are you grateful for?
  25. What was the last nice/encouraging thing you said to someone? How did that make you feel?
  26. Write about a gift you gave to someone that they really appreciated.
  27. What is your most prized possession? Why?
  28. Name 3 things that puts a smile on your face.
  29. What is your favourite smell and/or fragrance? How does it make you feel?
  30. What is your go-to when you need comfort or inner warmth?
  31. What part of your body are you most grateful for? Why?
  32. Write about the most positive thing about night time to you.
  33. Image you were a bird, what type of land or seascape would you fly over?
  34. Write about your favourite animal. What about them do you love the most?
  35. Think about a person who you miss the most. What about knowing them, has made you a better person?
  36. What is your biggest strength? How has it best served you?
  37. Think about a moment where you felt completely at peace. Write about it.
  38. Express gratitude for 5 objects you use daily.
  39. What is your dream holiday? Where would you go? What activities would you do/not do? How would you feel inside during this perfect holiday?
  40. What is your favourite aspect of your life? Why?
  41. Think about who you were 7 years ago. What has been your favourite personal growth since then and what are you going to be working on for that future you 7 years from now.
  42. What is the most important thing is your life? Why?
  43. Where does your heart call home? Describe it? (it can be somewhere you have never been)
  44. What is one thing you would like to do or try?
  45. What is your most healthy attribute? (Mind, physical strength, eye sight, sense of smell, etc) Why are you grateful for it?
  46. What is your favourite thing about where you live?
  47. What time of day is your favourite and why?
  48. Describe something that happened today that made you pause to appreciate the moment.
  49. Write about your favourite nature sound.
  50. Express gratitude for 1 medicinal product that makes your life better.
  51. Write a letter of gratitude to someone who bought a positive impact to your life.
  52. What is something you would love to do but not sure you can? Why would you love to do it and what can you do to make sure you have done everything within your power to achieve it?

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