So busy mum, rumour has it that you want small steps that you can take towards feeling less overwhelmed. You also want it be something that you can do in very small windows of time and doesn’t cost money… hmmm….
What say you to a gratitude practice? Before you roll your eyes and bounce right off the page, I didn’t expect a gratitude practice to do much for this busy mum either.
I’m still a busy mum, I still find myself on the over side of whelm more than I like and I still lose my bananas, but making an effort to identify moments worthy of gratitude definitely has benefits for me.
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According to Psychology Today:
Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants… Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.
Here’s a couple of my own benefits of gratitude:
- Stress reduction – practicing gratitude brings me down from that high stress place that my body seems to instinctively go to. It helps me to feel peaceful.
- Self awareness – I will talk more about this in a minute, but I learned a lot about myself from a little gratitude experiment (I admit that I was skeptical when I started this particular experiment! Be sure to read on and find out more).
So it seems that there are a few reasons to practice gratitude.
During the worst of my post-natal depression my husband and I made a point each day of telling each other something good about the day. We were always surprised by how much better we felt about the day after that simple exercise
I think that most mums of young kids will relate to kids’ bedtimes being tough and it was no different for us. We had a toddler, who HATED the idea of going to sleep and a baby who didn’t sleep – getting them to bed was difficult to say the least. During the horror hours, we quickly forgot about the good moments in the day, so we used this small reflection to remind us that the entire day wasn’t a disaster. Yes, the last 2 hours were a disaster but there were good parts to the day as well.
With a healthy degree of skepticism, I also created a gratitude list after reading that you could find your dream career by writing a list of 100 things you are grateful for. I don’t know that its quite as straightforward as that, but I definitely learned quite a bit about myself from the exercise.
Here’s a few things I realised:
- I need time on my own to re-energise. I’m an introvert and I struggle when I’ve had kids all over me all day. I need moments of solitude in order to be the best mum I can. What’s more: I really appreciate those quiet moments.
- I’m grateful for the people in my life – my family, my friends and the delightful people I work with (I’m very lucky: they actually make having a job quite bearable).
- money and material goods don’t really bring me much joy. Not that I’m ungrateful for material possessions, they just aren’t that important to me. However, I am grateful for air-conditioning on a hot day, my lovely bed at the end of a long day and the wonderful feeling of taking off high heels after a day at the office.
- My books are a lifeline. When I have a bad day I’m grateful for my books giving me an alternate world to escape to. I’m particularly grateful for the books that I can read time and time again and never get tired of them, for the books that get better each time that I read them or that speak to me in a new way with each read.
So here is my challenge to you – this week, make a conscious effort to identify things you are grateful for. Here’s a few ideas on how you could do this:
- follow my lead and do an evening reflection with your partner about something good that happened that day
- make it a game at dinner time for everyone at the table to share the best thing about their day – this is one that we actually do sometimes and it quite fund. The toddler always just rattles off names of his daycare friends and Mr Betterthanbusy ALWAYS says: 5 O’clock, but it’s still good fun
- do a gratitude list
- start a gratitude journal.
Got a different gratitude practice? I’d love to hear about it – just drop a comment below.
I’d also love to hear how you go with this challenge. Leave a comment below or on Facebook.
Want more tips? Try these posts:
- Overwhelmed mum: You don’t have to do this alone
- The amazing power of a hobby
- How to survive a bad day as a tired mum
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