2019 was a rough year for me, for fear of turning this post into an emotional rant, I'll summarize my feelings with an overly exaggerated comparison. All 12 months kinda felt like standing at the base of the mountain, enduring a pretty consistent avalanche. More than once, I would laugh when the FRIENDS theme song reminded me that sometimes people have bad days, weeks, months or even years. Then, to bookend the year, FRIENDS was removed from Netflix...OUCH. Sidenote, there's nothing FRIENDS can't get you through and I stand by that.
As I opened my eyes on the first day of 2020, I decided that this year had to be different. Fast-forward almost two months and it has been. While much of the improvement comes from ditching negative influences and making it through a season of uncertainty, a lot of it has to do with the conscious effort I make every single day to make it better.
A few weeks into January I started listening to a Podcast called The Happiness Lab by Dr. Laurie Santos. I ADORE it. Yale psychologist Laurie Santos breaks down the science of being happy and let me tell you, it's life-changing. Also, it's free so really you have no excuse for not at least giving it a try. Anyways, I'm listening to the podcast and one of Laurie's guests is talking about the importance of intentional gratitude to our own wellbeing. While listening to the man talk, I thought, "I have a ton of gratitude. I say thank you and I think about the things I'm thankful for."
Just about that time, the podcast informed me that taking the 10 seconds to actually WRITE out the things you're grateful for on a daily basis is the only real way to reap the benefits yourself. Well dang, okay. Thus began my 10 page (and growing) "grateful heart and self-love" Google document.
Like a good majority of my female friends and peers, I've struggled with self-acceptance and insecurity for quite a while (sounds like a painfully vulnerable blog post for another day). Based on my desire to combat this mental hurdle, I decided to incorporate self-affirmations into my gratefulness practice.
Every day, I take 30-60 seconds to fill out the following prompts. The daily format looks like this:
This may seem a little weird and to be honest, getting started is way harder than you think it will be but the impact is HUGE. Even after just a few months, I can already feel a difference in myself and see a difference in the way I cope with hard days. I look at my "tough year" as a "growth year" and thinking back, I wouldn't change a dang thing.
Some days, finding things to list feels impossible. I sit down and stare at the screen and my 30-second activity turns into a 5-minute activity. Without any guilt in the world I write;
Today, I am grateful for my bed.