by Jeanine Englert
I used to think all of those blogs on gratitude and having gratitude journals was well, sort of mumbo jumbo. I hadn’t really bought into until a few years ago. I guess the wheels have to fall mostly off the bus for me to try things sometimes. In the winter of 2016, not only were the wheels off the bus so to speak, but I was also in a ditch covered in mud.
But, now I believe that proverbial ditch was one of the best things to ever happen to me. Perhaps having some mud on your face helps you gain perspective, and things that seemed so important the day or week before become ridiculous. You also realize there is so little you can control other than your mindset. So, if you find yourself marred in a ditch as of late, I have some advice for you: find gratitude and savor it. Even if your gratitude is as small as a mustard seed.
In January of 2017 after a surgery I had never expected or wanted to have, I found myself wallowing in my own self-pity. Annoyed with myself and the situation, I took out an empty notebook work friends had bought for me to help me whittle away the hours as I recovered. I drudged it out after I read an article on gratitude. I wish I could remember where I’d read this advice I’m about to give you, but it alludes me. Perhaps it was all the pain medication. But, I remember I followed its advice and wrote: a) the date at the top of the page b) four good things in my life and c) four wishes/prayers/goals for the day.
Just focusing on the present day was the first gift I received from this daily activity. It anchored me in the moment and gave me something to focus on working towards for that day. Tomorrow didn’t matter; neither did yesterday. Being present and focusing on only 24 hours lifted a weight from me that I remember feeling down to my gut.
Finding four good things in my life and four wishes, goals, or prayers for the day also helped me remember all of the many blessings I had and that the malaise I was feeling moments prior was a small part of my life. After completing this on that first day back on January 27, 2017, I completed it the next day and the next. Soon, the malaise and self-pity grew smaller and my gratitude greater as if I too had been a Grinch and then finally let my heart grow back to the size it should have been and beyond.
Focusing on those wonderful things I did have helped me have more energy and joy in my life which translated to me being a happier and better human being in every aspect of my life. So, I challenge you to find a piece of paper, part of a napkin, a journal, anything you can write on and try out this exercise for today. Then, maybe try it again tomorrow. I truly believe a bit of gratitude can get you anywhere you wish to go: out of a ditch, on a new journey, to the stars, and to a thousand places you never thought you might venture. Focusing on life in small 24 hour bites helps you savor all the beautiful gifts you have that day and celebrate joy.
So, what are four good things in your life? What four prayers, goals, or wishes do you have for yourself today? I’d love to read your comments or see photos of all you are grateful for. Here are a few of mine: my husband, my rescue pups, my writing friends, and my health.
Jeanine Englert is a Golden Heart ® Finalist and Daphne du Maurier Award winner in historical romantic suspense. After years of writing in secret, she joined Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers in 2013 and has been an active member ever since. She writes Scottish Highland historicals and historical romantic suspense novels.
When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved pups, and of course mysteries with other readers on Twitter @JeanineWrites, Facebook, or at her website www.jeaninewrites.com.
Her debut novel, Lovely Digits, released in June of 2019 by Soul Mate Publishing, is a Victorian romantic suspense that won the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award and was named a 2018 Golden Heart ® Finalist for best unpublished romantic suspense.
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