“For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” ~Brother David Steindl-Rast
Lately, I have been struggling with self-doubt.
I can easily get caught up in a cycle of negative thinking. I worry. My thoughts towards myself and my future can get very negative.
The negative thoughts start repeating over and over in my head. They tell me, “That’s not going to work.” Or, “That’s too hard.” And, I have an overall attitude of frustration.
These types of thoughts may seem benign, but they are actually quite dangerous. They can sabotage our dreams.
“Be careful what you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” ~Buddha
And, being a negative thinker, well that’s not who I am anymore. I’ve learned that the best way to combat the cycle of negativity, fear, and worry is with gratitude.
After talking with a friend, I realized that my gratitude practice has gotten stale. I usually journal in the morning and write three things I am grateful for and three great things that happened the day before.
But that was getting redundant. And, that’s okay. Sometimes you just need a little change.
Since my practice was stale, I needed something fresh.
So, after talking with another friend of mine (I know some really amazing women,) she told me about “The Smile File.”
This is simply a collection of pictures, notes, cards that make you smile.
Cute, easy, fun. Why not try it?!
So, for the past five days, I took a picture of everything that made me smile. And, every morning, I flipped through the album to help set my mood for the day.
No, my life isn’t perfect all of a sudden. In fact, it’s exactly the same. But, I feel better. And, sometimes that’s all we want. I found myself looking at the pictures quite often. They made me happy. I feel blessed and content.
When I’d go to grab my phone to snap a picture, I’d often find myself extending that moment into something more rather than letting it pass by. One day, I was shopping with my youngest daughter and there was a large bin of giant bouncy balls. She wanted to hold one and that made me smile. I took a quick picture and then we began throwing the ball back and forth. We threw it up to the ceiling and it literally was bouncing and rolling down the aisles. We were both laughing. When I looked around there were employees standing there smiling and laughing too.
I know. It’s a simple story. But, that’s what often happened when I took that extra moment to be grateful. Taking time for gratitude affects your mood. That, in turn, rubs off on others. If I hadn’t stopped, I would have pushed my cart right by the bouncy balls intent on getting through the store and checking off my shopping list.
Of course, I couldn’t take a picture of everything. Sometimes the sound of my daughters laughing and playing, or the smell of my husband’s cooking couldn’t be captured. Sometimes I forgot. Sometimes I couldn’t find my phone.
But, after looking through these pictures I am speechless. Because I know there are so many more of these moments to come. And, because there have been many moments that I missed due to being wrapped up in the what ifs and the busyness of life. Too many moments.
So, here you go. My last 5 days. Only 5 days. Gratitude. Abundance. Hope. Joy. Try it.
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