Gratitude is the first stage of the Soul Scripting process for good reason. When you develop a solid sense of gratitude you can become much more resilient to life's ups and downs. And you can practice feeling grateful. Even if it feels unnatural at first, practice often and you'll come to know that warm fuzzy feeling as well as you know your comfortable bed. Then you'll be able to cosy up in it any time you choose.
Here's a simple gratitude practice that I use in Soul Scripting workshops, that can be easily worked into your daily routine:
Get yourself a small notebook - one that's easy enough to keep in your pocket or handbag and carry with you wherever you go. At some point every day, at least once a day, take the book out, write the date at the top of a new page and list 5 - 10 things that you are grateful for in that moment.
That's it. The exercise is really that simple! It can also be transformational.
The only additional suggestion I have is that you look to different areas of your life for things to be grateful for. So, one day you might focus on family - listing your mum, your dad, your partner, your dog... anyone present in your life. If you spend a lot of time with certain people you might find yourself listing them often. That's great! But after a few days consider shifting the focus. Perhaps choose to focus on your body and list everything you're grateful for about that. Even if there are things about your body that make you uncomfortable, can you spend a few moments focusing on the good? Your heart is beating. You're breathing. What else could you list? Or how about focusing on the world around you and writing about the sun, the beach or the way you feel when you walk through the park on a crisp autumn day? There are many good reasons to list the same things often and just as many good reasons to look to new areas for things to be grateful for. Try a balance of both.
Making your lists at different times of day and in different locations will naturally help you to see from different perspectives. Try to write at least 5 - 10 items every day for a month, however you're feeling.
What gratitude lists can do for you
If you're having a lovely day, it feels great to list all the things you are feeling grateful for; doing so becomes a celebration! If you're having a challenging day, it can feel good to read the list from a lovely day you had recently! When writing your gratitude becomes a habitual practice, it becomes easier to do, even in difficult moments. If you're having one of those days (or one of those weeks) where nothing is flowing the way you'd like it to, taking out your notebook and finding five things that you are still grateful for in that moment could just shift your perspective enough to help things flow more freely. Even if nothing about your day changes, you will have given yourself a few nice moments of respite.
When you begin, if you find yourself struggling to find things to be grateful for, you can always start by expressing gratitude for your breath, then work your way out from there. After all, if you're still breathing there are still things to be grateful for!
Over time, this practice could make it easier to deal with even the more challenging things that happen in life. Imagine, for example, that you write the name of a good friend on your gratitude list every day for six months. If you have a fall out, that person's name will still appear on all of those pages. Even if the relationship breaks down you will still have pages and pages worth of gratitude expressed in black and white. In time, maybe reflecting back on those will help you to arrive at a place where you can feel grateful for the positive things you got from that relationship. Maybe. Maybe not. Everyone is different and that's just one example of something that happens for me when I make gratitude a regular practice. I'd love to hear about how this exercise influences your life.
So I invite you to try it; write a gratitude list of least 5 - 10 items every day for a month. Maybe take a few moments to flick through your book every day or two as well and notice how that makes you feel. Please do get in touch if you have any reflections you wish to express.