A couple of years ago, a friend of mine took up a challenge called 100 happy days (link below) where she had to post a pic that made her happy every day for 100 days. After she had done it, she actually extended it to an entire year, and I loved seeing her daily posts, which I would say made me happy too. So much so, that I took the plunge and did it as well. At the time, I did not see the significance of this practice, which involved identifying something that made you happy every day, and pairing it with a visual reminder. However, I have come to recognise that this is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal - to ensure that we focus on the things that bring us joy, and to be grateful for them.
Along my journey to this milestone, one of the things I sought to learn more about was our minds and emotions, and how we could improve the thoughts that can run our lives. Once when I was very frustrated and at my wits end, I discovered my friend doing her 100 days of happy, and decided to give it a try. It was a great exercise – I enjoyed looking through pictures of my favourite places and people, and trying to find happiness in every day. And it is true to say – what you seek you find, and what you practice becomes automatic. Just be careful – this applies equally to happiness and misery, to joy and pain, to success and to failure – so choose wisely.
A few years later, I was introduced to the practice of daily gratitude and actually writing down the things I am grateful for. It took a while to get into it, and while just thinking about the things I am grateful for works in a pinch, there is something powerful in the act of writing something down. I found that this practice of daily gratitude was a great way to lift my mood. This practice, and a focus on generosity (service to others) have enhanced my life significantly over the past few years, and are game changers in how I feel and approach each day.
I won't say that it is always easy, and I still get frustrated and moody, and things annoy me. I still feel sad sometimes, and sometimes I need to vent. And sometimes I need that glass of wine (or piece of chocolate!). However with the practice of gratitude, it became easier for me to appreciate the things that I have, to maintain my good mood, and even to work up the motivation to do more things I enjoy (like starting this blog!). It is definitely a good lesson that I learned over time, and a habit that I try to maintain. And from the point of view of simplicity – if I am thinking about the things I am grateful for, then that is less time to spend thinking on the things that are bringing me down. In addition, there has been a snowball effect. The more things I thought of and was grateful for, the more I searched for things to be grateful for.
It is one of the few things I do to enhance my life that really has no down-side. I am going to end this with a short list of 3 of the many things I am grateful for today. Try it if you want an extra jolt of juiciness in your day.
1. The rain – after many a dry month here on the island, it has rained quite a bit over the last few days.
2. My car – I love my little blue bug and am grateful for it – especially on rainy days like today.
3. Technology – the mod cons that bring my friends right into my living room (virtually speaking of course).
And of course the technology that allow me (as always) to bring you big love from a small island.
Ps - here is the link I mentioned above - http://100happydays.com/
Pps - One lesson I learned about the rain - clouds make the most beautiful sunsets. See the one above that I took a few months ago. I am always grateful to live on this beautiful rock and to be able to see the wonderful sunset.