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Thursday, 27 November 2014

How to be Thankful Every Day of the Year

Being thankful is a full time challenge.  When I was building my life back up following my divorce I spent a lot of time thinking about all the things I was thankful for.  It was tough.  Those days were very dark and finding a sliver of hope needed work. 

Photo courtesy of Nurture Store
 

Ten years later I find it easy to be thankful every day.  Each evening my children and I sit down to dinner and we go around the table asking what our best and worst things are of that day.  This is also a wonderful way to find out what's going with your family.  I've discovered test results and arguments with friends this way (teens can be so guarded!)  They feel safe to voice their concerns as part of their 'worst' bit and we can discuss it as a family.  We then turn this into a positive by saying what our 'best' thing was.  This could be a simple as a sunny day or as monumental as an A* exam result.

Journaling is one of my favourite self-help tools, and jotting down three things you are thankful for can do so much for your well-being.  I write my list just before bed. Last night I wrote:
  1. Meeting a friend for coffee.
  2. Spending the evening snuggled up with my kids watching telly.
  3. My new patio (had landscapers in all week).
What happens if you are having a tough time though?  How can you be thankful when your life is full of pain, anxiety or debt? 

This is when writing a journal can help.  Even after the darkest of days you will be able to find something to make you smile.  The smell of a cup of coffee, your pet dog wagging his tail when you get home because he's pleased to see you.  What about a stranger holding open a door for you, or finding a five pound note in an old coat?  Don't think that you can only be thankful for the life saving brain surgery (obviously you would be!!) but instead remember the smallest of things.  Words, smiles, sunny days or friendly actions - they all count.

In my life I see my past as something that happened to another person.  I got a 'do-over' and everything that I've achieved since 2004 has been my new life.  This new person who was re-born and started fresh has created her own happiness, built on her strengths and learnt huge lessons about her weaknesses.

To be able to move forward I began setting myself goals - smaller ones to begin with.  The first goal I ever set myself was to get up, get dressed and take the kids to nursery and school.  That was an amazing day!  I began my 'be thankful' journey that same day.

What are three things you are thankful for? 

2 comments:

  1. When the dark clouds settle it can be hard to see anything good in the world - but I try! Today I'm thankful for a roof over my head, the freedom to make choices - and my husband's cinnamon biscuits!

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    1. On our darkest days it's the trying that can stop us from slipping further into that black hole! Thanks Julia and if there are any cookies spare send them my way ;)

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