One of the people I follow on Instagram, Alexandra (@alexandratheoptimist) has started doing something she calls Thankful Thursday. She’s a really great mental health advocate, and I love these little initiatives that she shares.
What is Thankful Thursday?
Every Thursday, Alexandra shares some things in her Instagram Story that she’s thankful for, and they can be big or little or somewhere in between.
Why do I want to do it?
I’ve tracked things I’m grateful for in my bullet journal for a couple of years now, and I find it really helps me to stay grounded. Often, I get in a downward spiral of anxious thoughts. Thinking about the things that have made me feel good in my week is a great way to remind myself that things are not all bad. In fact, they’re often pretty awesome!
Also, for a couple of years I did a project on Instagram that I called #beccashappylife. It was a trend that started with a project called #100happydays. Sadly, I think the reward ended up being not real (them sending you a gift), but it did end up starting a pretty great gratitude trend.
Finally, I think this project is “on brand,” if you will, with what I’m doing here in this blog space, so I’m going to start having it as a regular, weekly segment!
Here’s my Thankful Thursday!
Things I am thankful for this week:
- The sun has come out three out of four days so far this week (yes, in my opinion the first day of the week is Monday)
- I got a serendipitous phone call on Monday
- Less trouble getting out of bed in the mornings, which is probably the second biggest thing
- I got some funding for my Master’s degree from work (YESSS!!!! Definitely the biggest thing)
- Really great tutoring session with a client
- Chocolate and cookies
- I went to sleep before 10 once
- This morning I got this view as a reward for getting up at 5:45am (let’s be honest, it was 5:48 after I spent 3 minutes feeling sorry for myself) to go for my run:
I’ve been really ruminating on something my counsellor recently suggested to me about this gratitude tracking. What she said was that it’s great to retroactively track the things that you’ve been grateful for. However, there are important next steps to make it an even more meaningful practice. The first is to start noticing great moments as they’re happening, not just after when you have the chance to take some time to think about it.
Being able to recognize these happy, warm, gratitude-filled moments as they’re happening is a really great way to combat anxiety and depression and to just have better days in general.
The next step my counsellor talked to me about was being able to draw on memories of these great moments when we’re struggling or in a dark or difficult place. They can give you a great buffer between your brains and destructive thoughts, and can increase mood in general when you can call on them at will.
Some of my Favourite Moments to Call on in Times of Darkness and Anxiety
- Sitting on my couch in a puddle of sunshine
- The first taste of hot coffee on the weekend
- The moment I press the timer on my running watch when I’ve completed a training session
- The feeling of wake-up cuddles with my dog Jazzy. She used to wait at my bedroom door for me to get out of bed
- The feeling of closing a really great book after I’ve finished it
There you have it!
So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for the week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!
Peace and love,