When trying to go to sleep, instead of counting sheep, try counting things you’re grateful for— in alphabetical order. AJ Jacobs, author
With Thanksgiving on the horizon (I’m particularly mindful because my daughter and her family are coming for a visit), it’s not too early to consider, really consider, the little things for which we’re grateful.
AJ Jacobs, author of Thanks a Thousand, is just the guy to emulate. His book recounts his mission to thank every single person who played a part in making his morning coffee, over one thousand people. His journey took him from coffeeshop barista to the Colombian coffee farmer to the lid designer. Oh, he also thanked the lady from pest control who kept the bugs out of the coffee warehouse.
Scientific studies indicate that showing gratitude is good for our physical and mental health. Keeping a gratitude journal helps patients in their recovery and health-care workers’ stress levels decline by an average of twenty-eight percent. We humans are naturally negative. Spreading gratitude is a way to make the world a better place.
Affirmation: I’m grateful.
Coaching questions/request: Who have you thanked today? What difference does it make when someone thanks you? Think of someone who rarely receives appreciation and thank them.
For the December issue of Vanity Fair, the British author Zadie Smith completed a questionnaire which asked: What do you dislike most about your appearance? “I like it all,” replied Smith, 41. “Self-hatred is for younger, prettier women.” I say self-hatred is for none of us!
Negative self-talk can be destructive not only to ourselves but to our relationships. Here are a few tips to help you tone-down the negative self-talk:
—Name the negative “person” in your head. I call mine the Gremlin. Talk back to the Gremlin, argue with him/her, challenge the Gremlin with the truth.
—Track when your Gremlin is speaking to you. One of the first steps to changing a habit is recognizing when it occurs. Journaling is a helpful way to do this or simply stop and make a mental note of unwarranted negativity.
—Affirm yourself. If your Gremlin is invading your space, affirm yourself. Gremlins hate affirmations because they take away their power. You may not rid yourself of the Gremlin but you can tame him.
Affirmation: I will tame my Gremlin.
Coaching questions: When does your Gremlin use negative self-talk on you? What does he/she say? What will you do the next time this happens to dispel the negative self-talk?
Keeping a personal journal, a daily in-depth analysis and evaluation of your experiences, is a high-leverage activity that increases self-awareness and enhances all the endowments and the synergy among them. Stephen R.Covey, author
Have you ever wondered why people like Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, and Sara Blakely spent so much of their precious time writing things never to be seen by another soul? Because they knew the power of daily journaling.
Here are just a few advantages of journaling:
Writing what you’re feeling helps you clear your emotions, detach from the past, and vent any pent-up anger. You do this by transferring your emotions to paper which helps you get them off the hamster wheel of your brain.
Journaling helps you achieve your goals. Writing down long term goals is an important step to achieving success. Writing about what you want to do and/or have achieved each day to move you toward reaching your specific goals is what makes this happen.
Keeps you in an attitude of gratitude. One of my favorite type of journals is a Gratitude Journal. Write what you are grateful for everyday. Keeping gratitude as a central part of your life keeps you forward thinking and positive. A similar journal is a Prayer Journal.
Records your life history. My former husband wrote in his journal every day for most of his adult life. When he died suddenly at the age of fifty-three, his journals were the history of his days on a Naval aircraft carrier, the weather, and what had happened in his life day to day life.
Affirmation: Journaling can make a difference in my life.
Coaching question and request: How might journaling make a difference in your life? I challenge you to keep a hand-written journal for one week.
PS I’m starting my new journal (see below) today. I’m with you all the way!