I have a tendency to wait too long. Whatever the word is beyond “procrastination”—that’s what it is. Sometimes it’s laziness, sometimes I just don’t want to do what I know is ultimately good for me. Gratitude works a bit like that in my life. Whenever I’m struggling with feeling overwhelmed by work, the kids—life—I know that taking a minute to write down or say out loud what I’m thankful for will help me shift to a more positive place. And yet, there are still times I just don’t take the time to do it.
As I’ve written about before, practicing gratitude on a regular basis has literally been a life-changing practice. I know this…yet, for some reason, I allow the chaos of my life to overwhelm me, eventually pushing me towards being stressed out, frustrated, and often angry. Why do I allow things to get that far before I take time out and practice that gratitude that I know is so helpful? The only thing I can blame is habit. My whole life I’ve pushed things off or haven’t dealt with them at all. I’ve had a tendency to focus on what’s broken, what’s not right. But now I know better and I’m working on it. I can’t expect 30 years of habits to turn change over night, but I’m excited about what I know now.
Sometimes the practice of being grateful feels like magic. I haven’t encountered a situation yet that I’ve been struggling with that hasn’t been made better, or at least a little brighter, by making a gratitude list. I could practice this magic every day and I know it would help prevent a lot of stress. As it is now, I list out what I’m thankful for when I remember, and even (mostly) when I’m reluctant. To put it simply, practicing gratitude makes my life better. Knowing this is helping me change my old habits of putting things off and now I don’t wait a month, a week, or sometimes even a day until I acknowledge what I’m grateful for.