In January 2015, I started a Gratitude Jar. Just an old milk bottle that I began tossing little slips of paper into at the end of the day. The slips of paper listed the gratitude(s) of the day. The idea was to review the slips of paper on New Year’s Eve 2015 as a measure of all the good that came in to my life.
A funny thing happened as I began that practice…It seemed like my blessings began to multiply! (That’s a topic for another whole blog post!) An attitude of gratitude helped me have a more positive perspective on life. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, it helped me focus on what was going RIGHT! They say it takes 21 days to make a new habit permanent. After about a month, I stopped putting slips of paper into the jar and started doing a nightly inventory as my head hit the pillow.
I met my husband just before I began the gratitude practice. We’re married now and talking about our gratitude’s of the day has become part of our evening wind down ritual. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day! No matter what has happened, there’s always something to be grateful for and it helps us end the day on a positive note.
Life often gives us more trials than we feel we can manage. This is particularly true for families with the added task of caregiving. You can do a family gratitude practice at dinner, when you tuck your kids in bed for the night, or whenever you need a break. The benefits of using this simple practice to open the lines of communication and keep your family in a positive frame of mind are endless.
PS: I keep that milk bottle on my desk to remind me that being in a positive mindset is a choice.
Deb Timmerman RN, HTP, DAIS helps kids, teens and adults manage stress with easy to use exercises and strategies. She is a regular workshop presenter in the Live Healthy Program at Metro Health-University of Michigan Health and a Community Champion Trainer for the MI ACEs Initiative.