To be fair nothing has actually changed, but I have.
In fact the first week of 2016 hasn’t been especially awesome at all. A big client let me down and my middle child started school. Sadly I didn’t win the lottery, get married or go on holiday. It was just a typical week with the school run to do, nappies to change, dinners to cook and washing to wash. Despite this, I have had one of the best weeks of my life and here is why; I spent most of my time thinking about how grateful I am, even on the school run!
From January 1st I started the #365 Grateful Project where each day I take a picture of something I am grateful for, I have also been including my children in the process so by the end of each day we have 3 pictures to share on Instagram. I wasn’t planning on writing about this project again until the end of the month but it has had such a huge impact I had to share it with you today.
I now spend each moment mindful of how grateful I am. I wonder as each second passes if it was good enough to get my camera out. Well it turns out that I have a hell of a lot to be grateful for! Of course, I don’t spend all day taking pictures but the point is that I am making an active choice to direct my focus to the positive things each day. My favourite bit is is searching through the pictures trying to decide the days winner; the moment I have MOST gratitude for. Sometimes its a really difficult decision, sometimes I’m a bit gutted as I look back on my day and realise that I didn’t take a picture of the best bit. None of that really matters though because what’s going on in my brain is life changing.
Don’t just take my word for it, the scientists agree; gratitude has a physical effect on the neuro-activity patterns in your brain. After conducting brain scans it has been proven that gratitude has its own distinct pattern which was different to other positive emotions including happiness and empathy. Being grateful is more than saying thank you when someone holds open a door it is its own unique emotion and one that makes us feel amazing.
Life is not big events it is the tiny flashes of perfection hidden in normality. When you work that out everything else falls into perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I still felt the normal spectrum of emotion including anger and anxiety but somehow those moments now seem insignificant because I wasn’t paying attention to them. I simply moved on wondering what I could be grateful for next.
What excites me the most about this project is the impact that doing this for a year will have on my children. There are many important things I want to teach them but learning to be truly grateful in life has got to be top of the list.