After telling a friend I felt completely tapped out, she suggested writing a gratitude list to capture some highlights and frame some perspective.
My initial thought was ‘I cannot be bothered’. Then I paused for a minute. When I feel zonked out, I fall back into bad habits: not exercising, eating too many crisps, preferring to hibernate rather than go out and a little ‘poor me’ internalisation.
But gratitude is everywhere today. Inspiring quotes and gratefulness journals are crammed onto shop shelves. A wall of gratitude was even put up in Sheffield where people could write a note of appreciation for something good.
Studies have shown gratitude can protect from stress (although work is still needed to prove whether it’s causal) so rather than let it bite me, I fed it something more nourishing instead.
Coming up with my list was hard at first because what I wanted to note seemed so trivial (‘coffee, salt and vinegar crisps, warm socks’).
As I got into the flow, the little seeds bloomed into colourful flowers. My mind wandered off and as my grateful list grew, my happiness barometer charged up.
Here are just a few of mine from this week:
Devon – for the choice between coastal vistas, deep green valleys and everything in between.
Spring – for the return of the blackbird to our garden.
Music – for lifting you up and expressing emotion. Thanks, AC/DC.
Water – turning on the tap and drinking clean water is not something we can all do. People walk miles and miles for the smallest of amounts. Some never even reach it.
Home – for security, safety and anchorage.
Tears – to appreciate not all endings are happy and feeling sad makes you human.
Family and friends – for being there when you need them (as well as when you don’t).
Art – for opening your eyes to enthralling alternatives (I wrote this after being mesmerised by Matthew Bourne’s version of Romeo and Juliet).
Bed – for comfort, rest and recharge.
Snooze buttons – for 10 more minutes…
Laughter – for the fuzzy-warm feeling from the endorphin release and for keeping life in perspective.
Hot buttered toast – for there’s nothing quite like it.
Spa days – the only place where it’s acceptable to eat a posh lunch while wrapped in a bathrobe and wearing disposable slippers.
The next time you are feeling a little ‘meh’, call upon your gratitude attitude for some pointers. It definitely lifted my spirits. Whereas I was reluctantly preparing for a camping trip this weekend (forecast: rain), I’m now pretty up for it. Rain? Pah!* Skin’s waterproof and downpours are good for the plants!
*I reserve my right to get sweary if the showers are so heavy the tent leaks.
All my love