Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Feelings are as unpredictable and inconsistent as the weather. They’re ever-changing with no tell of whether it’ll be sunny or gloomy. However, unlike the weather, which is relatively tolerable, our emotionally rough days are something we’d like to avoid or at least be equipped to deal with. No one wishes sadness or anxiety upon themselves.
If only we could be in a good mood each and everyday, wouldn’t that be a dream?
What if I told you that it isn’t an unattainable dream? That you can learn to weather a bad day and maintain a good mood through the simple act of appreciation. That’s where gratitude comes in. Learning to consciously appreciate your life is scientifically proven to be a mood booster and combat negative feelings such as depression. It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well. The true test is being able to practice gratitude even when things are going less than stellar. The key is consistency and finding ways to incorporate this practice into your daily life.
Why not set the tone for the day and kickstart each morning with a gratitude boost?
Become more thankful and get your day started in a good mood by adding these small, easy acts into your morning routine:
1) Don’t pick up your phone! Start off the day with silence
It can be pretty habitual to wake up and instantly feel the need to catch up with the world. Scrolling through social media, scanning the news or opening your inbox might feel like a productive way to gradually awaken, but doing it first thing in the morning sets a negative tone. The stimulus of content, messages and information can induce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Leave the phone on the counter for 5–15 minutes and instead opt to make silence the first part of your day. Meditation or prayer is an amazing way to gently get your mind into a good mood. Sitting quietly and taking just a few moments to be mindful helps calm down any negative emotions we may have, instead putting us into a greater state of calm. On days when you really are in a pinch for time, simply doing some mindful breathing also works wonders. Ease into your day, be fully aware for a few moments about your surroundings, your mental state and think about your intentions for the day.
2) Say thanks! As you shake yourself out of bed and get ready for the day, think about a few things you appreciate. No matter how bleak you’re feeling, there is always something to be thankful for. Add a silver lining to your life by positively acknowledging the small and big things. Some days I feel especially blessed to have fundamental people in my life. Or, I’m thankful for the opportunity to wake up and work on some pretty cool projects that I’m passionate about. Other days I’m grateful for something as trivial as having enough cream in the fridge to make my morning coffee. Whatever it is, say your thanks and start your day in a good mood!
3) Practice reflection using a gratitude journal If you want to take your gratitude game up a level, why not record it down? Putting down these thoughts and feelings into words is more powerful than you think. Important: collect your daily appreciation somewhere where you can further reflect on your thoughts.
Writing comes in many ways; many people find it doable simply to jot down three things they’re thankful for each day. You can type this in on your phone, purchase a little notebook or record it on your laptop. If you’re more keen and eager to expand these reflections, then feel free to write full entries. There are many journal ideas available online to get you started. A few that I love and regularly come back to are;
What is the best thing that happened to you today?
Who makes you feel loved and why?
Name someone that makes you smile.
What do you like most about those around you?
4) Make it a habit to relive a meaningful memory every morning Beyond analyzing our inner self, a great reflective mood booster is looking back on past memories. There are so many moments of happiness and joy in our lives! When we look back at them and relive them in our minds it is scientifically proven that the brain is triggered to reconnect with the positive feelings that were involved in that memory.
Remembering is a great tool. Some people choose to recall the moment in their daily writing. For digital users like me, I enjoy collecting my memories in a media. I often love to save pictures, videos and type out small journal entries of my favourite memory. Apps like Cookie Jar collect all my pictures, videos and audio into a neat memory that I can pull up anytime. As someone who loves convenience, being able to snap and save memories in an instant is truly amazing. Plus: reliving them later directly puts me in a good mood!
These things may be small tweaks, but the gradual change of being more appreciative can snowball into an overall happier and positive lifestyle.
Each day is so important, and how we start it highly influences the way we tackle it. We are responsible for seeing the worth and good in our life. As Tecumseh said,
“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”