Be Intentional and Start Your Day with Positivity
Our first thoughts set the tone for the day ahead. Learn how to start your day happy with a gratitude practice! Practicing gratitude can help bring joy into our lives, especially when we might be going through a difficult time and are stressed or depressed.
In this post, I will share a simple yet powerful way to practice gratitude in the morning and start your day with positivity and end it with a grateful heart as well. I will also share the benefits of gratitude and how we can do a gratitude meditation practice along with our kids.
As busy moms, our lives can get easily overwhelming at times. We can have a successful day: the house is cleaned, the kids did well in school, dinner was made on time, and you even had time to read that book that’s been sitting on your bedside for the last two months.
The next day, complete chaos.
The house that you just cleaned yesterday is a complete mess, the kids fought tooth and nail on not completing their homework and you had no time for anything because you were too busy putting out all the fires of the day. Oh, and dinner?
I guess it’s take-out… again.
Life can get tough and sometimes the monotony of our routines can drive us absolutely bonkers. If we aren’t careful, we can get stuck in the negatives and find it more and more difficult to see the opportunities of happiness that surrounds us:
- Our health
- Our cherished relationships
- A Peaceful Night’s Sleep
- Kids getting along with their siblings (when they do 😉)
- Technology that makes our jobs easier (Thank God for washing machines and dishwashers!)
- Hot morning coffee in our favorite mug
- Our favorite cozy blanket
- Babysitters for that much-needed date night
Fostering Gratitude on Purpose
Have you ever found yourself enveloped in happiness and gratitude. Maybe you were thinking:
“Look how happy my kids are right now. They are amazing!”
“This hug is amazing! I feel so loved right now.”
Our hearts swell with gratitude when we reflect on how blessed we are. We may sit with it for a moment or two and then we go back to our day. I don’t know about you, but I want more moments like those. Those moments are cherished and we have all felt them from time to time. But why do we only allow them to come by chance?
I think you will agree, we more often reflect on what is going wrong in the day.
By using a gratitude practice regularly, like the one I am about to share with you, we can bring joy into our hearts and have a more positive outlook on life. Start your day happy by practicing gratitude first thing as you awake. We can begin to live life more enthusiastically with a cup that overflows. We are so blessed, but how often do we take time out of the day to realize it?
Positive Benefits of Gratitude
In Positive Psychology’s article, they share over 28 positive benefits of practicing gratitude. Here are just some of the impactful way’s gratitude can help us live out our lives more fully:
- Make us happier
- Increase psychological well being
- Enhance positive emotions
- Increase our self-esteem
- Keep suicidal thoughts and attempts at bay
- Improve our relationships with others
- Strengthen family relationships in time of stress
- Increase our spiritual life
- Make us more generous
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve sleep
- Improve physical health
The list of benefits goes on and since the study of the benefits of gratitude is still new, I am sure the list will grow!
When Gratitude is Difficult
Finding things to be grateful for and be happy about is difficult when you are coming from a place of lack, hurt, or pain. If you are struggling to find happiness in things you once have, my heart goes out to you. I’ve been there. It sucks.
Gratitude can help shift your perspective to enjoy what you have present now in your life.
When I was going through a very difficult time in my life, I became overwhelmed with negative and depressing thoughts. Your first thoughts can often set the tone for the day. Mine were overwhelmingly negative.
When I started using a gratitude practice in the mornings, I found that it was simple things that brought me happiness. I would reflect on simple things like
- how cozy my bed was
- the warm heat coming from my heater vent
- the sound of laughter from my kids
It’s important to be positive especially if you tend to dwell on the negative. Consider this meditation as a challenge to rewire your brain and exercise it to break the negative thinking patterns you may have going on.
As with any habit, with time, you will train your mind to wake up and automatically think of good thoughts. I can’t think of a better way how to start your day happy!
How to Practice Gratitude
As you wake up, you will probably already have thoughts begin. It might be the to-do lists of the day, yesterday’s events, or you might feel the urge to check your phone.
To combat the distractions getting your attention, as soon as you are awake you can disrupt that cycle with an intentional gratitude reflection.
You can do this while you are still lying in bed, or if you prefer sitting up.
Think of Something You are Grateful For
Don’t just pick the first thought that comes to mind, but to find something you are truly thankful for. If you are struggling with being positive due to stress or depressed thoughts, keep it simple as the soft sheets on your bed, or the warm heat from the vents.
Experience That Thought
Once you have in mind what you are grateful for, sit with it. Feel deep in your soul. Recognize how it feels in your body and sit with it for a minute or two. Reflect on that thought deeply.
Repeat Two More Times
Repeat this process for two more things you are thankful for.
Get into the habit of implementing this gratitude practice and you will start the day happy. As you continue to use it you will find that finding things to be grateful for gets easier with time.
Is this Gratitude Practice Just For Mornings?
You can do a gratitude practice any time of the day. It is also especially beneficial to do have a gratitude reflection just before falling asleep. You can reflect on three or more wonderful things that happened in your day.
If I had a particularly challenging day, I will practice gratitude to steep my thoughts to the wonderful things that happened that day, and to my surprise the attitude I had about the day shifts.
My thoughts might have been steeped in the downfalls of the day, but as I intentionally look for the good of the day I start to remember achievements I made throughout the day that I might have not recognized before.
Your brain is a powerful tool. If we ask it to give us all the reasons, we should be ungrateful, it will. But if we challenge our mind to come up with all the things, we should be grateful in that day, it will give us the evidence for this as well.
Practicing Gratitude Can Help You Reframe Your Day
So, let’s say you lie down after a hard day. You weren’t productive. You didn’t get half the things you wanted to get done that day. You felt overwhelmed and maybe you felt like you didn’t spend any quality time with the kids.
Maybe you even marked the day as a total failure.
But as you sit down to do your gratitude practice and try to focus your mind to help guide your thoughts, the negative outlook you just had disappears. You reframe your day with three grateful thoughts. Maybe they are something like:
- I read to the kids today.
- I stopped to be present with my son as he shared with me his drawing.
- I recognized I was overwhelmed and took time for self-care today.
Even after a difficult day, you can find ways to be grateful and happy for experiences, lessons learned and the cherished moments you had that day. Be sure to show yourself some compassion. Reflecting on just three things is simple yet powerful!
Have a Gratitude Practice with the Kids
Another idea is to do a gratitude reflection with your children. Each of you can take turns sharing what you are grateful for and allow a minute to reflect on that thought.
You can also use this as an opportunity to affirm your love for your child by sharing something in particular about them you are grateful for. Maybe you share your gratitude for something wonderful you caught them doing, or a good habit they have, or something they accomplished, etc.
“I am thankful for your laughter. It warms my heart and makes me happy whenever I hear it.”
Keep A Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is also a great way to process your thoughts. There is something about physically writing something down that is therapeutic and stress relieving. It is also a great way to record your thoughts so you can look back in time at the memories you cherished and be able to reflect on them again in the future.
You can simply write it in a plain spiral notebook or another inexpensive idea would be to pick out a beautiful journal at Marshall’s or Ross. What is good about going out of your way for one and a journal you find beautiful, is that with that invested time and intention you will probably be more likely to follow through with your habit.
I would suggest setting it somewhere near your bedside so that you will have easy access to it first thing in the morning or at the end of the day just before going to sleep.
Final Thoughts on How to Start Your Day Happy
Learning how to start your day happy by practicing gratitude first thing in the morning can be a game-changer. It helps us gain a more positive perspective on our lives and enjoy what we have now.
When we dedicate the first thoughts of our days to gratitude, we can interrupt the cycle of overwhelm by our to-dos of the day or the negative thoughts that might haunt us from the previous night. With daily practice, we can get in the habit where when we wake up we automatically awaken with happy thoughts of gratitude.
Gratitude practices at night can also help us to reframe our day and to see the positive and help us sleep better. Help your kids see the value of gratitude by practicing with them. It also allows you to share your gratitude for them out loud, something we can forget to do that is so important.
Don’t just wait around for those unexpected moments of gratitude, but foster gratitude intentionally and daily. We have so much to be thankful for!