There’s a lot of prepping, rushing, backpack checking, and lunch packing to be done. Getting back into the swing of a schedule is brutal for some of us. We go from unstructured summer play to “get up, get fed, get dressed, get out of the door by this time” insanity. Sometimes it feels like a shock to the system. But there is beauty in the insanity, too. Like the fact that our lives become consistent once again. And for some of us, it means we have a few hours to ourselves for the first time in years!
Amidst all the busyness and chaos of the school year, let’s take some time — some “me time” — to pause and reflect on all that we are grateful for. Gratitude journaling is one of the best ways to boost our happiness. Sometimes we can get lost in the funk of, “I have too much to do!” or “I feel so overwhelmed by my life.” But gratitude journaling can help us snap out of that and focus on the things we appreciate most in our lives.
Here are just a few benefits busy moms may experience by keeping a regular gratitude journal – and even better, it only takes 10 minutes or less of your time:
1) A boost in happiness. What mom doesn’t want to feel happier each day? When we focus on all that has been given to us consistently over time, we realize how wonderful these things are and how much we appreciate them. Yes, even including the head-banging, top of the lungs screaming toddler that currently lives in our house 😉 When we are appreciative, we naturally feel happier. We can more easily weather life’s storms.
2) Fewer materialistic desires. By practicing gratitude, we learn to appreciate what we already have and are less tempted to want more, bigger and better. When we get caught up in the “more trap,” it’s hard to ever find satisfaction. Eventually we get used to the new item and find ourselves unsatisfied once again. Or we may start finding fault with the thing that was supposed to solve our problems. Maybe you wish you had a bigger or newer home. Instead of focusing on what you want, focus on what you have. By focusing on the positive qualities of our current home and being thankful for those, we are more likely to forget about the merits of something new.
3) We are less likely to compare ourselves to others. Does that mom down the street have a new minivan or fancy suv? Great, we don’t care or notice. We already have what we need to safely transport our family, and are so appreciative that our vehicle functions well and protects us in traffic. Comparison doesn’t even cross our mind because we already have enough. And bonus gratitude points: we are so grateful that we still have the money that could have been spent on a new car still sitting in our bank account. And even more bonus gratitude points if that money is sitting in an interest bearing index fund, preparing us for the future. College savings anyone?
4) Improved Mental and Physical Health. There is a strong connection between the mind and the body. When we create more gratitude and positivity in our lives, our minds and bodies notice. We develop better coping mechanisms for emotional trauma and we are more likely to engage in health promoting activities like exercise and eating nutritiously. When we feel more optimistic, it’s easier to say yes to thirty minutes of exercise and some lean protein and leafy greens. When we are in a state of negativity, TV and comfort foods are more likely to become our escapes.
Below are a few prompts to get you started on your gratitude journaling journey. Gratitude is most powerful when practiced consistently. Consider setting aside a few minutes a day to reflect on all you are grateful for.
The following exercise should take no more than ten minutes of your time. And to make it even easier on you, here is a free journal page to get you started. Grab a nice cup of tea and your favorite pen. Let’s begin!
1) What am I most grateful for in my life?
2) Who am I grateful to have in my life?
3) What life experiences have positively shaped me?
4) What relationships or social interactions have positively shaped me?
5) What accomplishments am I most thankful for?
6) What am I most thankful for today, in this moment?
We would love to hear what you are most grateful for in the comments. Please share your experiences!
Wishing you all the best in your motherhood journey,
MK and Yvonne