For the past few months, I've been working on a daily gratitude project. It's not quite ready to be released to the world yet... That's mostly because I haven't found the time to work on it thereby negating the "daily" part of daily gratitude project. I'll keep you posted.
However, I am amazed at the difference it makes in my day whenever I do find time for it. Here are just five simple steps that have brought so much more joy in my life:
1. Change "Didn't" to "Done"
At night after I shut my eyes, my mind races about everything I failed to accomplish that day. It could be a last load of laundry. It could be something stupid I said. Maybe I yelled when I should have listened.
Whatever it is. I decided to counter with listing all of the things I did accomplish. Sometimes the best I can come up with is, "hey, we survived another day" and sometimes that, in itself, is huge.
2. Dare To Do Nothing.
A few weeks ago, Oprah did a show a happiness. According to her guest, studies show that just 10 minutes a day of silence will increase your happiness. I don't know about you, but ten minutes seems like an impossible commitment (especially if you can't even go to the bathroom without little ones and a husband following behind...). So Oprah challenged people to start with just one minute a day of silence.
One minute. I could do that!
I tried and it did make a difference. I felt calm, resolved, and peaceful, but I still felt self-conscious about sitting and doing... well, nothing.
A few days later I found this online: Do nothing for two minutes. Your stare at rolling waves for two minutes... and if you touch your mouse or keyboard, it restarts. Since you're on your computer, you can take your moment between projects. (And no one has to know.)
3. Say Please and Thank You! (With A Smile)
Taking the time to appreciate others, makes you feel appreciated too. It's not just good manners, it also builds a connection and fosters community. When I recognize how much others truly do for me, whether it's pouring the streamed milk for my latte just right or running to hold the door as I maneuver a stroller, I feel less "me against the world".
4. Put Yourself At The Top of Your To Do List
As moms, there isn't a second of our day that we're not thinking of others. Heck, as women... we continually put the needs of spouses, parents, friends, and everyone else before ours. It's wonderful, but what about bringing at little of that love and concern back home?
I used to think that "me time" involved getting a sitter and a weekend away or elaborate spa treatments. Who can afford that on a regular basis? I certainly can't!
Then, it occurred to me that "me time" could simply be me doing something I love like spending an afternoon baking (which I did yesterday) or making time for a hobby. My plan is to do one thing per week that's just for me. It could be talking to my best friend on the phone or a walk with the kids. No sitter needed.
5. Listen To Your Kids
I talk to my children all day long. I tell them to hurry up because we're late for school... again. I remind them to bring their plates to the sink and put their socks in the hampers. I ask them, "What do you say...", but I don't always ask time, "what do you think...."
My children are four and one, so there are just now expressing their views. Neither them are shy about expressing their preference... loudly, but they have started dabbling in the ways of the world.
Things I've long since taken for granted, they bring a whole new level of fascination. Why do birds make different sounds? And how awesome it is that there are so many! Why can't we have ice cream sundaes for dinner just this one time? Can we go to the park on our way home?
Remember how fun it was to just run in an open field? Just run. No form or heart rate monitors or calories burned. Just you and the sunshine and wind in your hair. I dare you to be grumpy after that.