Owners of my "Unlocking Your Freedom" journal will already know that it contains a template for both morning and evening gratitude. I included both, because some days I practice in the morning and some days the evening. There are also days where I practice both. I am not a life coach or a professional, I am a real person who has found, practicing gratitude, life changing and want to share that experience.
If you have been following me for a while you will know that anxiety and fibromyalgia play a huge part in my day to day routine. I was unable to accept it for a while and felt defeated by these conditions. It has been a journey but I am finally in a place of contentment and am able to surrender to the battle. Being told to be grateful for what you have when you are in a really dark place is soul destroying. I know people mean well and in theory, they are right. But being in that place means you cannot comprehend the idea of being grateful, for anything. The key is small steps, start by noting 1 thing that brings you joy and in time you can build on it. It does pass and that black cloud can be lifted but only by you, when you put in the consistent work.
I was in the darkest of places, it was the scariest thing I have ever experienced. Meanwhile, I had a loving home, great friends and family, two of the most incredible children but I felt so alone. I felt I burdened them all. It got so bad that eventually I could not leave my house or even be left alone. I was scared of everything, I couldn't cook through fear of burning the house down, I was scared to drive, incase I ran the car off the road and even ended up in hospital because my heart rate would not slow down. Eventually I was given anti-depressants and various drugs to support my fibromyalgia pain, this allowed me to start the journey of journalling. Some days I would sit with a pen and not write a single thing, then it got easier, I knew that I had to keep going if I was going to lift this dark cloud. Within a month I was able to appreciate the people around me again and understand that I did not burden them, but I had something to bring to them, I just had to work hard at finding it. Within 7 months I was back out on my daily dog walk, alone and although it was still scary and I only went out for 5 minutes I started to feel excited again about my life. I was genuinely blown away with how much progress I was making. After 9 months I was discharged from the mental health team and deemed fit enough to manage my own feelings. Journaling, but most importantly, practicing gratitude is what helped me to get here.
I am not going to lie and sugar coat it, I still struggle, daily, to do everyday tasks, like shopping or the school run but one thing I am able to do now is surrender. The simple task of filling my fridge with food brings me so much joy that I am now able to do the weekly shop on my own. It is still hard, the anxiety still consumes my body and the fear of pain from lifting in and out of the trolley or the impatient people behind me at the checkout, still sometimes overwhelms me. However, through the power of my mind and the ability to turn those negatives into the positive - that feeling of filling the fridge, I can do it.
Why Practice Gratitude?
Because, it isn't something you can just pull out when you need it, it is something that needs to be practiced daily to help in those moments of darkness. It won't stop the bad things from happening, but it will help to control your response to adversity. It is equally important to practice when things are going well and to always appreciate the small things that happen in your day to day life. There is now scientific research to prove that we can change how our brains are wired and practicing gratitude everyday day will give you a more peaceful, content life. It works, it really does and if you are around people who tell you otherwise, make new friends!
I had to work with professionals to get to a place of self practice so please do seek medical advice if you are in a place of deep darkness. They can support you to get into a place where you are able to practice daily gratitude and unlock your own freedom. It does and will pass, don't ever give up the fight. You are too precious and bring so much to this world - if you can't see it yet, you will in time.
If you are feeling slightly off and lacking direction but mentally still in a good place then I urge you to start practicing daily gratitude, now and watch your life transform.
'Start Each Day with a Grateful Heart'