In life it’s very easy to neglect all the good things that we have in order to dwell on the negatives. This can definitely be a fault of mine, even though I am interested in self-development and strive to live a life that brings happiness to others as well as myself.
A way to combat this type of thinking is to write a gratitude list each night before going to bed (or each morning if you prefer) setting out those things that you are grateful for. This may sound like a woolly, hippyish exercise in positive thinking that has little purchase in the real world. But studies have shown that compiling such a list regularly can help to rewire our brains, making our outlook sunnier. It is also purported to reduce stress and other mental health issues.
“Generally, it’s a really positive idea because people feel like they’re taking control, “says Professor Jackson of Birmingham City University. “They’re not being told what to do, and it’s also not like some forms of therapy where the therapist won’t tell you what to do – they just kind of give you hints and you have to work it out for yourself.
“With this, you’re doing it yourself, in your own time that’s convenient to you; you feel as though you’ve got control and autonomy over the whole process.”
Here, then, is my gratitude list for today:
- My friend and mentor John, who I met this evening to work through some issues related to my 12 step recovery programme, and the life changes I have planned that are coming up.
- My Apple Mac laptop. I carry it everywhere. It is where I run my business, entertain and educate myself and where I keep in touch with family and friends.
- My corporate job. As much as I rail against it, it is paying the bills for me right now as I transition into a new way of life.
- The Internet. It has totally opened up my life, teaching me so much and enabling a whole new way for me to make a living.
- Coffee. I absolutely love black coffee. Yes, caffeine may be one of life’s evils but at this point I really don’t care. Coffee gives me that boost I need in the mornings, plus I love the taste of it.
- My family. I had a wonderful weekend with my father and two of my sisters. I am so grateful that they are in my life and that we have a great relationship. I am grateful that my father supports me in my decisions and is able to advise me on both life and business matters.
- My gym membership. My gym has branches all across London, which means I can work out close to home or in the city centre. There is no long-term commitment over a month so I’m not tied into a long contract. It is simply and inexpensive but contains everything I need for a great workout.
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I’m reading it at the moment after a false start some time ago and I’m getting a load of value out of it. Despite its somewhat antiquated style a lot of its advice is bang on and 100% relevant to me today.
- The ProBlogger Podcast. As a blogger, I’ve been listening to this podcast by Darren Rowse for over a year now. I tune into each new episode every Monday without fail. Darren has a warm manner, a relaxing Aussie accent, and he has influenced me hugely.
- The Minimalists Podcast. The Minimalists are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus and their show covers everything related to the Minimalist lifestyle. I’m quite new to their work, but the podcast is becoming a staple for me. The guys are entertaining, but their message, around intentional living, is serious and, like Darren, they are influencing me greatly at the moment.
That’s my list for today. What are you grateful for? I’d love to know—post your list in the comments section below.
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