I’ve been practicing gratitude for several years now, and it certainly helps me to put things in perspective when I get caught up in the whirlwind of human life’s daily, sometimes stressful concerns: money, cleanliness, eating, staying healthy, exercising, socializing, volunteering, learning, driving, and so much more, many of which are closely related.
At least once a week I take time to write down several things that I’m grateful for, big and small, and reflect on those things and how lucky I am to have them. Sometimes I feel the need to practice this more often… during the pandemic I have found myself needing to write my list more frequently, because added to the stress of everyday regular life is this anxiety-provoking, deadly, invisible, sinister…. “thing” that lurks and dwells and hangs over us. Its inescapability alone is enough to drive anxiety through the wall. There is no cheap flight to a remote paradise for a couple weeks. In fact, flying is exactly the opposite of what one would do to escape this. It’s baffling. It’s easy to feel stuck or trapped.
This gratitude practice has revealed just how healing my art practice can be. My ability to be creative on a daily basis, to produce something beautiful that conveys a message or just something to appreciate simply for the beauty of it – I find peace, balance, purpose when I create. It appears regularly on my gratitude list, and between my art practice, gratitude practice, and a healthy dose of yoga and running, I’ve managed to stay relatively centered and calm during the last year.
My gratitude list for today:
- My family is healthy
- That delicious cup of coffee this morning
- I get to spend time with my baby every day
- I have the ability to go on runs and walks, to move my legs and arms and feel free
- My art practice and the space in which I create
- The curiosity and desire to learn that has driven much of my art practice
- The time I have to practice art
- Looking out my kitchen window to a garden full of food, flowers, and herbs
- Having a kitchen window even!!
- The orchid that I somehow cared for in a way that kept it alive and even rebloomed!
- Water – I LOVE to drink water
- All the photos and videos I have of my baby
- The smell of lavender. What a gift to humanity!!
Just writing the list made me reflect on all the good in my life. Thinking about the good things with intention can really put a smile on your face. I certainly feel lighter right now. The gratitude list is certainly nothing revolutionary and I’ve seen the concept floating around for a few years now on the internet, Pinterest, etc. But, I hope that anyone who reads this tries it. If you’re having a bad day, feel a little lost or lonely, or you just need a little light in your life, making a gratitude list may help you feel a bit better. Making it a regular practice is supposed to improve depression symptoms and relieve anxiety. Either way, you won’t know until you’ve tried.