I wanted to share with all of you how I learned to practice fast gratitude. Some of you may be like me and have heard that practicing gratitude can be a game-changer for happiness and creating a positive attitude in your everyday life. Hearing about all the positives of practicing gratitude, I decided to give it a try.
For those of you that haven’t heard about the benefits of practicing gratitude, according to Forbes practicing gratitude has scientifically proven benefits including:
- Winning people over and help create new relationships
- Improving your physical health
- Improving your psychological health
- Reducing aggression and increasing empathy
- Improving self-esteem and mental strength
- Improving sleep – we all need that!
After feeling like the universe was constantly telling me that I needed to practice gratitude – it felt like the message was everywhere! I finally joined the bandwagon and decided to add gratitude as a self-care benefit to my routine. I told myself, “I am going to make the time,” and I decided to start by creating a Gratitude Journal.
Creating a Gratitude Journal
While there are plenty of predeveloped gratitude journals out there that consumers can buy, I took the time to create my own. I wanted the prompts to relate to caregiving, my relationships specifically, and be somewhat specific to my life. Once I had the prompts, I challenged myself to do 30 entries in 30 days.
I started strong, adding journaling as one of the first parts of my morning routine. Here is how it went:
- Day 1: Great start. I completed the first prompt!
- Day 2: Woot! Woot! Another day of gratitude.
- Day 3: I’m getting the hang of this.
- Day 4: Drats! I forgot to write in my journal.
- Day 5: Shoot, I didn’t do it again!
- Day 6: My journal is in my apartment, and I am caregiving to my parents. Awesome.
By Day 10, I knew journaling was not working, and by Day 11, all I could think was, “A caregiver doesn’t have time for this.” Sidenote: for the caregivers out there who this works for, shout out of applause. Go you for making this work! It just didn’t work for me.
My biggest issue with the caregiving journal was that my research didn’t tell me that it would feel time-consuming and create more pressure. To me, it felt like another task that had to be completed, and as a task-driven person, not completing the journal prompts daily played horrible mental tricks on my brain. This made it so I wasn’t feeling any of the benefits, so I gave up.
My problem was that I set my expectations too high and made gratitude a burden, not an asset. I didn’t want to journal every day, but my brain and the Pinterest algorithm said that was the only way I could practice gratitude.
Practicing Fast Gratitude
A few weeks ago, I realized I had been wrong about how to practice gratitude. It turns out you do not need to practice gratitude by writing in a journal. Practicing gratitude does not need to be time-consuming or energy draining. It can and should be easy and efficient. How you practice gratitude should work seamlessly into your life, not make it more complicated.
I know some of you may be reading this and thinking, “duh, Kristin!” But I really thought that gratitude needed to take time from my day. It needed to be thoughtful and considered. Written down in a journal. It doesn’t!
Last week during a work conference, our employee assistance program representative talked about small moments of gratitude that you can do in seconds. He called it in this moment gratitude.
In This Moment Gratitude
Here is how it works. When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, angered, outraged, you know all the bad things, you state the phrase, “In this moment, I am grateful,” followed by something you are grateful for. And it can be anything you are grateful for!
Here are some examples:
That is it! The posibilites are endless!
Final Thoughts About Practicing Fast Gratitude
Caregivers, this has been a game-changer for me and a great caregiving resource. I have used fast gratitude when I am stressed at work, overwhelmed with responsibilities, and on my hardest caregiving days. I wish I had this tool on the day that I lost my patience with Alzheimer’s, but that is another post.
This ability to practice fast gratitude as a caregiver has truly helped alter my mindset. I love taking a moment standing in the sun and saying my in this moment phrases. It takes 30 seconds or less and helps my mind do a complete 180 on my negative thoughts. Those benefits that Forbes and the world are talking about are REAL!
I have only been doing this for maybe a month or less, and I can feel the change in my attitude towards myself and caregiving.
Your Turn To Practice Fast Gratitue
Now it is your turn! I challenge you to practice fast gratitude for a week. See if you like it. See if it helps with your caregiving or with your life in general. Even better, try it now, like right now! Feeling brave? Write me your “In this moment I am grateful” statement in the comments section below.
I look forward to reading what you share!
Until next week! Let the role reversal continue 😉