Thankful heart

Thankful heart

At the end of a very long, emotionally draining day, I find myself thinking about a picture I saw on Facebook about two years ago which said ‘what if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?’.

On days like today, when it feels as though things couldn’t possibly get any worse, it takes some time to get my mind into gratitude mode. It is a process to sort through and cross out the negativity and consciously pick out the points to be thankful for, because our minds tend to focus more on the ‘what went wrong’ rather than on the ‘what went well’. When we automatically think first about who made us angry, who hurt us, how could this be happening to me?, we cultivate a negativity in ourselves which is a bit like a weed that seems to cling onto all our emotions and thoughts, shadowing even the happy things. We need to actively train ourselves to see the good in others, to be appreciative of the small things, to take note of the blessings and to focus in on the things we are thankful for. When we start highlighting these good things before the bad, we start cultivating an attitude of gratitude in ourselves which brings happiness and contentment.

At a leadership development program I attended recently, the speaker suggested we keep a gratitude journal. The purpose of this little book is to record five things, at the end of each day, for which we feel grateful. This exercise proves to be quite difficult at first, because we’re not wired to easily recognise the things to be thankful for, but as we train ourselves to become more focused on what made us happy that day and who made us feel good, it becomes difficult to narrow the list down to just five. The process of thinking through the events of my day, picking out the things that made me grateful and then writing them down, allows me to end my day with a happy heart and mind rather than being weighed down by stress or anger or worry.

Tonight, after a day of paediatricians, pharmacies and physios, I’m so thankful that this chaos is only temporary, that the sun will rise tomorrow to a beautiful new day and that my husband is coming home.

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