This is a guest post, the third in the Gratitude Practice series. Every week, I’m posting a submitted article about the powerful practice of gratitude. You are invited! More details here.
Today I welcome Leanne Chapman, who blogs about finding your true self at ClaimYourTreasure.com
As a therapist and coach, I’ve often heard myself suggesting to clients that they start a gratitude journal where they list at least five things each morning or evening that they can give thanks for. Many of them groaned when I asked them to list items off the top of their head for practice before going home to try it, and said they couldn’t think of anything. But without exception they would come back and tell me how much easier it got each day they did it, and some later described listing up to thirty items without hesitation.
At this stage my own gratitude practice was sporadic, I would make lists in my journal two or three days a week and then two weeks would go by and I wouldn’t write anything. I would listen to my discussions with clients and think to myself “I really should do that” —practice what I preach—right?
A good way to get into a new habit is to start with committing to just thirty days, or even seven days if a month feels overwhelming for you. It’s less overwhelming that way and chances are that by the time you’ve completed your trial period, you’ll already be in the habit and will find it easy to continue. Finally I got serious and decided to be grateful each night for one entire month. I discovered that writing my gratitude list did become easier each night, just as my clients had described. It became a habit.
As I did it my focus switched from I don’t have / haven’t done / haven’t mastered / wish I could do to what I do have / what I’ve achieved and I began to value myself and appreciate my life a whole lot more. If gratitude is a practice you’d like to try but you haven’t been able to make the commitment yet, try doing it for the next seven days, and see what happens. You never know, it might change your whole perspective, and it might just get easier as you go. ☺
I’m very grateful to Sue for offering me the opportunity to share my gratitude practice on her beautiful website.
Leanne Chapman is a qualified psychologist and life coach who runs Claim Your Treasure, a place to discover your truth and create a life that makes sense.
Leanne uses creative processes involving art, writing, nature and even animals to help you uncover the true story of you.