Everyone says “just practice gratitude and it will be ok.” It’s is a bit more than that…
But gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Gratitude is about being thankful and having a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is key to self-care for mums. When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, remembering what you are grateful for can trigger positive, calming reactions in your mind, body and soul.
Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous.
Research reveals gratitude can benefit you in many ways, including:
1. Deepening current relationships and making new ones is founded on appreciating others. One of the first “manners” we teach our children is to say “thank you”. Saying “thank you” shows appreciation that makes a new acquaintance more likely to seek an ongoing relationship according to a 2014 study published in Emotion.
So thanks for reading my blog and thanks in advance for sharing this with your mum friends.
2.Improving psychological health and mental strength. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions by shifting your mindset from comparison to compassion. That shift is the first step in the Care Factor Circle System. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being and confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Gratitude also increases mental strength by playing a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11.
3. Better sleep! Every mum would enjoy better sleep. A 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being showed that spending 15 minutes before bed to write down a few grateful sentiments led to sleeping better and longer. Your brain is in a relaxed state of mind which fosters deeper sleep. Keep that gratitude journal more than anything else next to your bed.
4. Improved self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. A major factor in reduced self-esteem is the constant comparison with others and this “the people pleasing mum” and “the super duper mum” do so well. What a gratitude practice does is shift the mindset so that people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments rather than resent them.
5. Get more stuff done! Mums probably don’t realise how much they get done in a day and so feel less motivated to get more stuff done. Participants in a study by Emmons & McCullough, 2003,who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health- based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions. Success breeds success and you recognise that with gratitude.
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve. If you have no words to express your gratitude for someone else or yourself - a hug will do the trick every time.
To “up your gratitude practice a notch”, (especially those with the “I’m not enough mummy mind block”), I challenge you to think of 3 things to be grateful for AND… make 1 of those things to be about yourself as a person.
This list would go something like this:
I am grateful that I have/for….
I am grateful that I have/for….
I am grateful that I AM….
If you try to force a feeling of gratitude for something or someone when you REALLY want to PUNCH something (or someone) in the nose, then your brain will resist and the whole practice will backfire. All the gratitude you felt before will feel like a farce.
Instead, open up to curiousity and when you finally understand, you can feel compassion and thus gratitude.
Make it daily practice and I bet every day you can find 3 things to be grateful for and 1 of those things will be YOU.
If you found this useful, please share with other mums who could appreciate themselves a little more and show you care about them.
If you are interested in building your self-care practice and being more balanced. Check out the workshops and retreats or email me for a FREE self-care strategy session and lets talk over a virtual cuppa.
Until then, take care of you, Shannon