Thirty Days of Gratitudefeatured

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has

quote by Epictetus

Why Gratitude Helps.

1) Focusing on the positive in your life 
2) Diminishing the negative

“Count your blessings”. A favorite saying of my mom’s, she gives this advice with good reason. We can easily go day to day without reflecting on all of the wonderful things we have going for us. Taking the time to think about the good in our lives helps us to be that much more appreciative, fostering positive emotions. Ordinary events can pass us by without a second thought. But if you really think about it, there are many things for which to be grateful: uplifting tunes on Spotify, the cool air and a sunset while running a trail, a productive day at a new job…the list is endless. 

Likewise, you can think in the opposite direction. Just lying in bed the other day, my thoughts spiraled in a pessimistic loop. Unemployed. Going through savings. San Francisco might be terrible. My friends don’t care. No one understands. Cringeworthy. I snapped out of it by reminding myself of everything great in my life. As cliché or cheesy as it might sound, upon being more thankful, it helped! The moment passed, alleviating my low spirits.

Now, a week later, I’m working PRN (as needed) at hospitals and have a 13-week assignment lined up before, hopefully, moving to San Francisco. I spent time with my friends, and many of them reached out to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day weekend. The defeatist feelings from the past clearly had no merit.

Thoughts can easily fall into a black and white divide, filtered through a negative lens. Even when they are resolved, you can find new negative aspects to focus on – which is why it’s important to try and search for the positive in your life. By focusing on what you have going for you, you can switch mindsets. 

Being grateful is a continuous practice; the more you do it, the more it becomes ingrained. Instead of finding everything “wrong” with your life, it’s important to focus on what’s going “right”. It’s all about perception, everything is a product of our thoughts. If we think about what and who we love and stay present, we can be increasingly content. It might not be easy at first, but it becomes more natural. 

This isn’t to say that we can completely rid ourselves of suffering and negativity. We are human, and that means life may be painful. We have to work for the things we want, we may be disappointed, we will sometimes feel bad. But gratitude can be one tool in our arsenal to help us in getting through the tough times. 

Depending on the activity and person, it takes time to form a habit. Practice makes perfect. To jumpstart a gratitude-focused attitude, for the next 30 days, let’s challenge ourselves to express more daily appreciation. Write about one thing that you are thankful in your life, big or small. It was once suggested to me to try this out, so here it goes – motivate yourself to do the same!

1. A soft bed and clean blankets (3/15)
Laundry day. Aired out my down comforters and put fresh sheets on my mattress. It’s the greatest feeling when you crawl into a clean bed after showering.

2. A sister (3/16)
My alarm didn’t go off this morning! Running late to my job, my sister got up to help pack my lunch, even though she is on spring break. She’s absolutely the best. 

3. A different job (3/17) 
Started a temporary position with an acute inpatient hospital this week, and I like it! It’s nice to be challenged with something new – the novel mental stimulation in my career is welcomed. 

4. Running buddies (3/18)
My half marathon is in less than two weeks, and thank goodness for motivating friends! Hill trained today, and it’s much better with a partner.

5. Fresh, whole ingredients (3/19)
Cooking a new recipe tonight and made the weekly trip to Whole Foods. Leisurely grocery shopping is so therapeutic.

6. Carpooling and apartment crashing (3/20)
Skipped a few days because was out of town for SXSW! Gratitude in retrospect. Carpooled to ATX and back with some friends and stayed with one of their pals. Love them.

7.  SXSW goodies (3/21)
My good friend graciously connected us with a badge, wristbands, and party invites for the weekend! Nothing better than free drinks, food, music, trinkets and fun. 

8. Experiencing Austin (3/22)
ATX is such a great city and it’s no wonder why so many people want to move there. Ended the weekend in typical fashion – Brunch, Coffee, SoCo, Mount Bonnell and Ramen. This trip reinforced the decision to make a change from Dallas.

9. Positive feedback (3/23)
Confirmed a new job for next week. The one that was lined up fell through, which just goes to show how things eventually work out. My contractor talked to me about the good things my past PRN employers have said – always nice when people notice your work ethic.

10. Gorgeous weather (3/24)
Put up all the blinds in my apartment, danced to music while cleaning, and breathed in warm, sunny air on the balcony. Really. It was just that kind of day. Spring must finally be here!

11. Commercial flights (3/25)
About to be on a little hiatus again because heading to California! Yay! Thank goodness for cheap tickets and being able to travel halfway across the country in a matter of hours.

12. Dreams, goals and aspirations (3/30)
Gone for five days. Just came back from California and it was amazing! Completely inspired.

13. Mentors (3/31)
New job at a SNF for 13-weeks before moving. When people to guide you at something new the transition is so much easier. Not only in jobs, but in life. Some of my friends who help me to do things or give advice (like how to move to a new state) can be teachers in their own way. 

14. Video Chat (4/1)
Google has video conferencing available through hangouts, who knew? Chatted with two of my friends and booked our flights…to EUROPE! YAY! So excited! 

15.  Extra time (4/2)
Thankful for being let off of work early and getting in a run to release some stress. 

16.  Redbox (4/3)
Stayed in tonight with my sister. Unwinding with a movie after a long week is the absolute best. We watched Whiplash (highly recommended, Miles Teller is my new love).

17. Family (4/4)
Traveled to get together this weekend, and so happy! Loved catching up after not seeing everyone in a long time. 

18. Safe travels (4/5)
Easter weekend flew by. We got home to our respective cities in one piece. 

19. Kind Bars (4/6)
My sister has been trying the new yoga studio by our place and brings back free Kind bars. She’s allergic to them, soooo…

20. Equality (4/7)
Watched “12 Years a Slave” for the first time and, yep, cried afterwards. It was terribly heartbreaking to see such inhumane treatment. People knowingly hurting others with little remorse. It makes you think about the things you take for granted.

21. Fuel-efficient car (4/8)
My car was on empty. Empty. And it didn’t give out on me when driving home from work (forgot my credit card and didn’t have a way to pay for gas!). Yay!

22.  Opportunity for paid work (4/9)
Been working awfully long hours. One of my co-workers said something pertinent when reflecting on her own 10-hour schedule: “at least we can say we have a job”. You have to admire her optimism. Amen sister.

23. Incredible parents (4/10)
My dad noticed that I needed my tires changed last week (who else doesn’t know what “tread marks” are?), and he ordered them for me online. My sister is driving my car back home to get them installed. Parents: always looking out for their kids even when they’re adults. 

24.  Leaked videos and GOT (4/11)
Not of the risqué variety. HBO recently made a DVD available for some newscasters to review the first four episodes of Game of Thrones. Although they took as many precautions as possible to prevent release, someone put them all on the internet. Bad for HBO, Christmas for tech-savvy streamers. A four-hour binge watch later, and I’m speechless. Best. Show. Ever. 

25. New brunch spots (4/12)
Arguably the best meal of the day. Soooo good! Dallas is a brunch-centric city. Tried two new places this weekend – Henry’s Majestic and Eureka. Both mouth-watering. Nom, nom.

26. Networking and referrals (4/13)
Finally got my medical insurance lined up. Whew. All thanks to a friend who put me into contact with someone who knew the ropes.

27. Spontaneous texts (4/14)
Just to brighten up the day. On a group text with some of my girlfriends, and it’s always nice to receive one just because. In this case it was concerning free cupcakes. YAY. 

28. Finally making a decision (4/15)
It’s a weight off of my shoulders coming to a decision about which bridesmaids dress to choose for a friend’s wedding. Yes, I stressed out for a bit. And feel so much better now that it’s done! 

29. Catching up with friends (4/16)
Finally spent time with some of my great girl friends who I haven’t seen in forever. We still talk as if no time’s passed, which always speaks to a friendship. 

30. Relaxing nights in (4/17)
More and more of these lately. Because they’re too comfy. Cooked a mushroom risotto and watched Downton Abbey.  Dinner and mindless television after a long day = happiness.

31. Rejuvenating yoga sessions (4/18)
Soo relaxing. This particular instructor always has a great message to go along with the classes. Today’s was “be open”. To new experiences, to different ways of thinking, etc. Since I am a pushover for inspirational messages, it made it all the better.

32. Fresh flowers (4/19)
May not be the most financially savvy thing to have every week, but a bit of greenery in the apartment makes you happy.

33. Waking up refreshed (4/20)
How perfect is it to feel like you actually got enough sleep the night before?  

By expressing gratitude, you can make the switch from automatic negative thinking to positive. You find the silver linings in your life. Unhappiness is fleeting.

About the author

Robyn Elisa

Aspiring designer, artist and overall creative. Inspiring others to live a vibrant and authentic life.

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