Mindful May Week 4: Starting a Gratitude Journal
Welcome to Week 4 of Mindful May! I'm sitting outside on my deck feeling pretty content at the moment. I woke up feeling refreshed at 6 am this morning and decided to take advantage of some time outside before the heat and humidity take over for the day. I spent a couple of hours finishing up the last area that needed to be weeded while listening to Bon Appetit's Foodcast. It was quiet and comfortable outside and actually an amazingly peaceful way to start my Sunday (I started writing this post yesterday). I finished up weeding just in time for my yoga class and that combination has made this one of the most mindful starts to my day. That will definitely be something to write in my gratitude journal - more on that below.
Week 3 Reflections: Quality Time With Pets
How did Week 3 of Mindful May go? We have made it to the final week. Are you ready for it to be over or planning to carry some of these habits with you? This week was about spending quality time with your pet (or practicing more mindfulness with any activity you enjoy). I thought it was a fun one! Jameson and I went on walks together, played ball, had bath time (maybe not as fun for him), did bedtime doggie massages, and more. I enjoyed all of them, but I think my favorite was simply lying on the floor with him after work for a few minutes. With that simple act I instantly had a flood of happiness, sense of relaxation, and a deep breath in the midst of the constant activity I create in my life. It felt good. And it's going on repeat.
Week 4: Starting a Gratitude Journal
I'm excited about the topic for this week: gratitude. I'm starting a gratitude journal, and each night right before bed I plan to write down three things I'm thankful for that day. Matt asked if things can be repeated. Sure! There really aren't any rules here - do whatever works for you. The point of the practice is to end the day reflecting on positive things in your life that you're grateful for. This little act is probably only going to take a couple of minutes, but I'm interested to see how/if it impacts my overall mood and happiness.
The Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
For a seemingly simple act, studies have actually shown that those who practice gratitude tend to experience a number of benefits. The benefits range from increased happiness, strengthened relationships, better tolerance to hardships and pain, and improved health. This Harvard Health article is an interesting quick read on some of the studies that have been done evaluating gratefulness. One idea is to write a thank you note to someone who has never been properly thanked for their kindness. I thought that was a cool concept. It greatly boosted the participants' happiness in the study. On top of that, I'm sure it also made the recipient's day. Another idea to think about this month if someone comes to mind!
A Cute Notebook Helps to Get Started
I'm so excited about starting my gratitude journal that I purchased a cute notebook to keep by my bedside. This also meant an excuse to go into Home Goods. They always have so many cute journals for under $5. I'm grateful that I made it out of Home Goods with only two extra purchases that I didn't "need". Just kidding. I "needed" them both. I was out of turmeric, and I needed monk fruit for blog research purposes. I'm like a moth to light passing by their healthy food section. Anyway, there were a lot of cute things that I didn't purchase. I think overall, I get an A- in self control.
Here's where I wrap up this post and smoothly transition from being materialistic and go back to the point of this post: mindfulness and gratitude. I purchased the notebook because this is a habit I think is worth trying for longer than a week. Having it by my bedside will be a visual reminder to write in it each night. I think it will also be a good way to transition away from my phone. I'd love to hear how you plan to practice gratitude this week. If you already keep a gratitude journal, do you think it has impacted your overall happiness or created a more positive frame of mind? Good luck with the final week of Mindful May, and thanks for stopping by. <3