In 2014, I had a daily gratitude practice here on the blog. It was a New Year's resolution, and my intent was to get into a regular habit of expressing gratitude for the many, many blessings that I have in my life. It turned out to be a not-quite-daily practice. Out of 365 days, I only posted 245 times. There were stretches of a few days or even a few weeks where I didn't get anything onto the blog, for a variety of reasons. Over the course of the year, though, I created a habit.
And now that the project is done? I'm finding myself still drawn to the act of writing down my daily gratitude thoughts. I've found myself sitting at the blogger dashboard with a brand new empty post, fully ready to write today's gratitude post, then I realize that the project is over and I don't have to do it anymore. Or I'll wander into my office and sit down at the table with a journal, and have the overwhelming urge to write out my feelings, expressing thankfulness for the day's gifts. I love those moments... it's like the joy of life is bubbling up and wants to come out and infuse everything with goodness.
I'm so happy this is my habit now. I've said it before, and it's still true... I feel so much more content in my life, so much more at peace with the challenges on my plate, and I believe it's because of the way I made such an effort to find things to be thankful for, every day. Not just the easy days, but on the hard days too. When my dad was dying. When I was very lonely. When I was angry at life's circumstances.
Looking back, I think in those moments of intense sadness or frustration or grief was when I most grew. It's easy to express gratitude for your life on good days. But when you're overwhelmed, it's a good trick to figure out how to look at the other side of the equation, and find the light in the darkness, find the beauty amidst the pain. If you can do that, then your soul has just unlocked one of the keys to happiness, I think.
Have you tried a daily gratitude practice? What was your experience? Or maybe you're thinking about starting one? I'd love to hear about it, please do leave a comment and let's chat!