Last month I committed to practice 30 days of gratitude. I had set the intention to write four pages everyday about all that I was grateful for, and also to post one image on Instagram to share my gratitude. Now that the 30 days have passed I really feel the impact of the practice, and I thought I’d share that with you.
The practice and how it evolved
The first ten days of June I wrote four pages daily about what I felt grateful for. I would often end up weaving pieces of journaling in between the gratitude. I spent around 20-30 minutes writing, and I really felt the gratitude in my whole body. It felt good, useful and sometimes cathartic.
Then I caught the flu and writing seemed heavy and difficult, so I started saying aloud all the things I was grateful for. By saying it aloud I still got to feel the sensation of gratitude in my body, and the power of voicing it aloud was also really helpful in terms of directing my attention.
Posting on Instagram helped me keep the practice all the way through the month. Some days towards the end I felt busy, and I didn’t prioritize doing the practice in the morning, as I had intended. But the fact that I had committed to post on Instagram really helped me to be consistent. Everyday I would select an image and tap into something I felt truly grateful for. Even if I didn’t journal or spend a long time saying it aloud, I would still spend a good amount of time thinking about what I felt grateful for, seeing it, and selecting an image. And thereby I still ended up spending time feeling the gratitude in my body.
Feeling the gratitude really made the difference for me. I have previously kept a practice where I wrote three things I was grateful for every evening, but somehow this was too fast and easy for me. I didn't get to really feel it. And it didn’t ripple into other parts of my life as much as this practice did…
It became a habit
As time passed I noticed myself feeling grateful many random times throughout the day. Automatically. I would see a beautiful scenery and immediately my brain would think how grateful I was for the scenery. When eating I would look at the food and be grateful that I had food. And I especially noticed gratitude in relation to other people.
I felt more love and letting go became easier
It wasn’t a coincidence that I chose to practice gratitude in June. The same month I made the decision I was going to leave Thailand, which had been my main home for the last five years, and embark on a new journey back to Europe: first to Berlin and later onwards to Spain. As much as the new journey excited me, I was about to say goodbye to my dear and close friends that I had shared so much with the last years. It’s not a secret that I've never been very good at saying goodbye. But somehow I noticed that my gratitude practice rippled into this part of my life. Yes I knew I would miss my friends. However I noticed that instead of fixating on the feelings of loss and sadness, I mostly felt immense love for my friends and gratitude for the connections I had. I believe this was because my brain had become wired to tap into gratitude naturally. (Disclaimer: I’m no scientist, and I can’t prove this with hard data, I can only share from experience, and I really felt a change.)
Now that the 30 days have passed, I’m not going to post daily on Instagram anymore, but I still intend to keep a daily gratitude practice. It will be in a less formalized and more integrated way. The main point will be to make sure to feel gratitude daily.
I’d love to hear about your experience if you’ve practiced gratitude. How was it for you? Let me know in the comments below.