Noticed yourself feeling unnaturally bitter, negative and temperamental recently? Maybe you’ve just been going through your days feeling totally “meh”. Or perhaps it’s a combination of the two: negative, bitter blah-ness. Whichever unique combo you’re currently calling your own, I imagine it’s not super fun for you. Especially if this feels unlike yourself – as if this other person has taken over the “you” that you’re used to…and that you miss.
If you find that you’ve been spending your days kind of disconnected, unhappy and generally in a grumpy state of mind, I want to introduce you to something.
Meet: Mini Gratitude Moments.
I like to think of mini gratitude moments as the more subtle version of that which is ~*~Gratitude~*~.
These minituature moments came to be at a time when I was struggling to really feel gratitude for those things that I *felt I should be grateful for*. And this (surprise surprise), led me to more bitterness with an added bonus of guilt thrown in.
At that time, noticing mini moments of gratitude was about all I felt I could manage. Soon enough, I noticed my mood and levels of happiness shifting and how these small moments of gratitudes had such a big, positive influence on me.
But why gratitude in the first place?
In this day and age, gratitude is not a new concept to most people. It’s been #trending for quite a while now. However, less people probably understand the actual science and physiology behind gratitude and why it truly is an incredible force.
When we practice gratitude, we start to notice and learn that there is so much good to be had outside of ourselves. Gratitude, an important component of mindfulness, allows us to start being present in these moments and gives us a few minutes of (dare I say) respite from our constant stream of thoughts, worries and mental noise. Also, it can actually begin to block toxic, negative emotions. NBD.
An ongoing gratitude practice slowly starts to rewire our brain, allowing us to be more susceptible to positive emotions, feel more alive and awake, experience more joy, and feel more generous, forgiving and outgoing while feeling less lonely. It also helps our bodies! Gratitude can boost our immune system, lower our blood pressure, help us to sleep better and cultivate an overall healthier physical lifestyle.
Okay cool, but how?
Like I mentioned above, mini gratitude moments came at a time when my negative, bitter feelings were preeetty resistant to the suggestion of practicing gratitude. I could logically list what I was grateful for, but I had a really tough time feeling anything. I felt really disconnected. So I started small. Super small. And so can you.
First, put aside those “bigger” things that you “should” feel grateful for: your house, family, friends, the car you drive, your job, etc. Whether you feel grateful for them or not right now, it’s all okay. But I repeat, put them to the side for now. We’re going smaller.
Next, start by noticing random, almost unnoticeable things that catch your attention as you go through your day and that you find make you feel good…even just a teensy bit. Maybe it’s the smell of the bakery you pass on your way to work, or how a ray of sunlight looks filtering through a window. Maybe it’s the quick smile you exchange with someone as you pass each other. If you want more inspiration, check out this list. Maybe some of the examples will resonate with you. Or maybe not, and that’s cool too. Mini gratitude moments are personal and super unique to YOU – so you can go ahead and make them your own.
Let yourself pay attention to these quick, fleeting moments and see if can you let yourself linger on it for a couple extra seconds. Then let it go and wait for the next special, fleeting moment to come. Linger again. Let it go.
Let yourself find those mini moments of gratitude when they cross your path. Some days there might be more, some days less. Maybe in the first few days there will be none. Whatever the rate at which you notice these moments, be gentle with yourself. There is no “right amount” or “right thing” to be grateful for. Just allow yourself to notice them and see what kind of feelings and sensations they bring to you.
Want to share your Mini Gratitude Moments? Use #minigratitudemoment on Instagram to share your unique moments and see what others find special to them.
AND! If you’d like a little more guidance into the world of gratitude, sign up for the Mini-Gratitude Challenge, a 22-day experience to cultivate gratitude through creativity, photography and a strong desire to reconnect with yourself.