When reading the title of this piece you may be thinking what exactly is there to be grateful for in 2020?
I understand that it might not be the first word that comes to mind.
As I wrote this, breaking news announced that London was going into Tier 3 and on top of all of the Brexit news it’s no surprise that in general, we are all feeling a bit down-trodden.
It’s not your usual December.
This year has tested our resilience individually and as a society, and we are probably all feeling a bit worn out from it. I know I am.
But I also think it’s fair to say that there is a little light at the end of the tunnel, alright a glimmer right now, and we need to begin the task of rebuilding, tentatively maybe but it’s important to move forward.
So now is an ideal time to work on our mindset. Going into this rebuilding phase feeling buoyant and hopeful is going to be the key to getting through it and coming out the other side winning.
Now don’t worry –when I say ‘mindset’ I’m not about to put on a microphone headset and go all motivational speaker on you. I just want to help you begin to shift your focus to the positives, so you feel more ready for the next leg of the journey.
As you may have guessed from the title, I’m going to suggest gratitude as the tool for this. It’s simple and accessible for all – you can always find something to be grateful for.
There is a great quote from the author Melody Beattie:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
I’m always grateful for my first cup of tea in the morning - drunk outside if it’s summer and cosy inside right now. No matter how small there is always something to appreciate on the dark days when you can’t think of anything else.
And on a good day, it’s all around you.
Here are a few easy ways to bring a little more gratitude into your life, in a way that will brighten up your mood and help you focus on the positives.
Set yourself a daily challenge
The good old daily gratitude journal is a classic. It pretty much works for anybody to start each day by listing 5 things you are grateful for, either in a notebook or on your phone.
Personally, at this time of year I’m really grateful for sunshine on frosty mornings, and curling up with my cats if the afternoons are a bit dreary. The odd G&T doesn’t go amiss either. There is always something new too, from a thoughtful email to a little win at work – maybe a client has some kind of breakthrough that makes us both feel grateful.
One of my recent challenges was to move my website from Wordpress to Wix (it wasn’t without a few problems and subsequent swear words) but it has made my life much simpler now.
Having your life simplified in some way is always something to appreciate! Have a think about what you could simplify for yourself.
Or how about a modern twist on the gratitude journal? If you are into Instagram then you could challenge yourself to do a daily gratitude post for a month. You could also look at the hashtag results for #gratitude to get some inspiration.
Actually, I think I’m going to share a few gratitude-based Instagram posts myself in the next week or so, if you want to come and take a look.
Change the way you speak
Have you ever tried being mindful about how you speak? Some people set themselves challenges like ‘no complaining for a week’ – which is hard, but it can really help you to flip your script and therefore your mindset too.
When we pay attention to how we speak, if we catch ourselves complaining or always defaulting to the negative side of a situation, then we have a starting point from which to work.
Try it yourself:
Are things ‘awful’ or could they be worse?
Is there an upside or silver lining to a bad situation in your life right now?
What small thing in this situation are you grateful for?
If you do this regularly it can have a really big impact and you will soon find that even if you usually default to the negative side you may not dwell there as much, as you encourage yourself to look at the flip side.
Feel the change in the air
This last tip is really about noticing. We’ve all being doing that British thing of keeping our heads down and ploughing on lately. And while that’s served us well through the worst of the year, as things move forward and start to turn a corner it’s now worth looking up and taking notice.
We don’t want to get stuck in a funk – so allow yourself to feel the change in the air whenever possible.
Changes are coming and even if some of them don’t feel that positive right now, there is always another way to look at the situation that will help brighten your mood.
I’m definitely grateful that 2020 has shown me just how much we all need good people around us (and of course animals) and appreciating how much they all mean to us.
I’d love to stay in touch and hear what you are grateful for – it’s all good inspiration. It can be the tiniest of things or something bigger, whatever feels right for you.
Feel free to tag me on Instagram if you are sharing there.