Follow These 6 Tips to Begin Your Own Gratitude Journey

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Last week I shared why practicing gratitude has a positive influence on our lives. Today I’d like to share some practical ways you can do this. Often it’s not lack of knowledge that causes us to not do something; it’s because we have no idea how to implement change into our lives. Use these recommendations as a place to begin your own gratitude journey.

Write in a Journal

Journaling is something I practice (almost) daily. Usually, I write down a scripture I read that spoke to me, or I’ll write out a prayer that is heavy in my heart. Simply by journaling, I have found this shifts my mindset towards gratitude. I have gone back and re-read some of my thoughts, especially the ones during particularly tough times. Almost every time I have found something to be grateful for during that rough patch in my own life.

Make Gratitude a Family Habit

Practice being thankful as a family. I’m grateful for my middle – I call her Goosey-girl. When I’m complaining or in a grumpy mood, she’ll tell me. Not in a mean way, simply “Wow, Mom, you’re really grumpy today”. It’s good for me. It’s like the kick in the pants I needed to remind me how much my children are watching me. Practicing gratitude as a family not only keeps you in a positive mindset but teaches your children there is always something to be thankful for. We will often do this on the way home from school or during dinner time. I like to ask my kids what happened in their day that was positive or made them laugh. It’s amazing to watch their faces light up as they remember the good things about their day.

Write Thank You Notes

Begin a weekly practice of writing thank you notes to people in your life who have had a positive effect on you. You can also send a quick text or an email too if you prefer that approach. There is nothing like receiving an unexpected kindness from someone. It not only changes you for sending it but also changes them for receiving it.

Share Gratitude on Social Media

This one should actually be really easy, considering how much negativity and complaining is done on social media. There are many “Gratitude Challenges” on social media. I see them often, especially this time of year. Begin your own gratitude challenge. For 1 week share something every day that you are thankful for. If that’s too difficult (and there’s nothing wrong with that if it is) start with one thankful post a day. It’s not about perfection, it’s simply about taking that first step.

Display Quotes Around Your Home

This is one of my favorite ways to practice gratitude. I like to hang up scriptures around my home, to remind me that no matter what is taking place in my life, I always have something to be thankful for – my relationship with God. You can do the same thing. Write out Bible verses that speak to you and remind you to be grateful. You can always do a google search for “thankful quotes” and choose a few of those to display in your home. The possibilities here are endless.

Confront the Situation, but Find Something Good in Spite of It

There are situations in our life where it can be downright difficult to be thankful. Death of a loved one, loss of a job, struggles with special needs children, or a chronic illness diagnosis, for example. Being thankful and ignoring what is happening will not do you any good. Finding something to be thankful for in the middle of your circumstances does your heart a world of good. In these situations, nothing is too small to be thankful for. “I was able to get out of bed today” or “I’m thankful for that cup of coffee every morning”. Our family has experienced every single one of these circumstances. Was it easy to be thankful? No. It did help us keep our perspective when life seemed to be throwing us one curveball after another.

How do you practice gratitude? I would love for you to share with us over in my group, Choosing JOY.

 

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3 Reasons Practicing Gratitude Undoubtedly Influences Your Mindset

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(This post contains affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure here.)

Most of us know that gratitude can be a powerful vaccine against a negative mindset. There are countless studies on how being thankful has a positive effect on your body and a positive effect on your mind. The problem is we don’t practice it (I’m talking to myself here too).

Why is it so difficult to practice something that can bring us greater joy?

Reminding ourselves why gratitude is medicine for our mindset gives us plenty of motivation to make it part of our daily life.

Gratitude Shifts Your Attention

When we practice gratitude we are automatically focusing on the positive parts of our life rather than the negative. It’s not about dismissing the negative or not confronting the problems we encounter. It’s about purposefully choosing to remind ourselves of the good things in our life. This is especially helpful if you are prone to negativity (like I am!). My mindset already leans heavily towards thoughts of negativity, problems, and “gloom and doom”, that I NEED something to pivot myself back to a positive mindset.

Gratitude Provides Solutions

Think about this. If I’m constantly focusing on the problem – how it affects me, how it’s interrupting my life, how it’s ruined my day – there is a good chance I will not find a solution. By being grateful for what’s happening in my day, rather than being grumpy about everything that is going wrong, gratitude keeps my mind open to possible solutions. Honestly, there may not be a solution to the particular problem I am struggling with that day. I may be going through something that has no “end in view”. Either way, gratitude will help me see how I can thrive in spite of that problem, not be miserable because of it.

Gratitude is Viral

Have you ever been around someone who can always find something to be thankful for? I have and let me tell you I loved spending time with her. She was like the sun shining through a cloudy day. I knew, if I was having a bad day, simply chatting with her could change my whole perspective. Being thankful is a virus. It spreads rapidly simply by being around it. When I am in a terrible mood and complaining about everything, guess what? My family takes on that negative behavior or they simply don’t want to be around me. When I do my best to find something, anything, to be grateful for, it changes the whole attitude in my home.

Do you find it difficult to practice gratitude? I’m right there with you. This is not something that comes easy for me, nor is it in my nature. When practiced, I have found it changes my mindset and helps me see the wonderful life I really do have.

Looking for a place where you will be surrounded by hope and encouragement? Join my group, Choosing JOY, a safe and supportive place for women who are struggling with depression and anxiety.

 

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2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Families with Depression & Anxiety

I love Christmas. Yes, presents and gifts are wonderful, but I love the closeness of family, the yearly traditions, and of course, the food!

We have a few traditions that we follow each year. First, we watch all of The Santa Clause movies, usually after Thanksgiving. This year we started on November 1. Second, we always decorate Christmas cookies. This year we’re talking about making small gingerbread houses too with vanilla frosting and graham crackers. I have 2 teenagers and an 8-year-old in the home and we still enjoy these traditions. I’d be doing these things even if my kids weren’t here. 😉

This year I also want to begin a tradition of bringing to you a Holiday Gift Guide, geared towards families who live with the challenges of mental wellness and special needs. If you have any ideas you would add to the list feel free to do so. Leave a comment below or share on my Facebook page or in the group, Choosing JOY.

(This post contains affiliate links. For details see our full disclosure here.)

Stocking Stuffers for Kids

Many of these items have been helpful for my kiddos with ADHD and Autism. All of my kids enjoy Mad Libs and Therapy Putty. These are both great items to have with you on a long car ride. We also stock these items in my son’s backpack for church or when we go visit family and friends.

 

 

Gift Ideas for Kids

Our family loves playing board games and my youngest plays with play-doh, kinetic sand, and has used playfoam in his occupational therapy appointments. The Action Bible is great for kids, as it’s written in comic book form. We purchased our son his own Kindle Fire, along with the Kindle Freetime package. It’s free for the first month and then you pay a subscription price each month after that. Believe me, it’s worth it!

 

 

 

Gift Ideas for Moms & Teen Girls

The gifts featured here are meant to help you and your family relax and de-stress. I highly recommend the 2 books – Jesus is Calling and Battlefield of the Mind. We also use essential oils in our home to help create a peaceful atmosphere. My youngest teen daughter loves her sound machine, which helps her sleep at night. Many of you know that I display positive quotes and Bible verses in my home as a way to combat my own depression. And who doesn’t like to color? My oldest teenage daughter enjoys coloring, just like my son does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Depression & Anxiety Affect Both Men & Women

Kim Poteat of Happy Mommy, Tired Mommy has graciously offered to write for Living With Real Joy, sharing a perspective of both men and women regarding depression and anxiety. She took the time to interview 2 different people – 1 man and 1 woman – so we could see inside their lives and they could share their experiences with us. (This post contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure here.)

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According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the most common mental disorder is anxiety. With that being said depression and anxiety . . . though not the same, they go hand in hand. It is not uncommon to have both. Anxiety affects eighteen percent of people a year. There are many factors when it comes to depression as there is no one cause for it.

Today I am going to write about an interview with two different people who have opened up to me about their depression and anxiety. I have written out six questions and here are their answers.

Interview with Ale

1.  If you could work on changing one unhealthy behavior what would it be?

Ale: “One behavior I would like to change is my Anger. I would like to find a better way of controlling it.”

2. What activity would you enjoy adding to your schedule every day?

Ale: “ I  would like to add walking to my schedule, to help myself feel better and to help my self-esteem.”

3. What is one of your triggers when it comes to your mental health?

Ale: “ When I become stressed out even by something that might seem small to someone else (for example, traffic) it makes me anxious. If I feel rushed, I do not have enough time to do something.”

4. Do you need constant motivation to get tasks done?

Ale: “Yes. When I receive positive reinforcement it helps me get through the day and makes me want to do daily tasks.”

5. What does depression mean to you?

Ale: “Depression to me is a never-ending hole that you can not climb out of. It means some days I can not move or get out of bed.”

6. How can family and friends help you through a difficult time?

Ale: “Family and friends can help me through a difficult time by being supportive and understanding of my illness. Also by not putting so much pressure on me.”

Ale is a man dealing with depression. Even though depression is more common in woman, men can suffer from it as well.

Next I am going to talk about a woman’s struggle with depression.

Interview with CeCe

1. If you could work on changing one unhealthy behavior what would it be?

CeCe: “The unhealthy behavior I would want to change is my self-sabotaging.”

2. What activity would you enjoy adding to your schedule every day?

CeCe: “The activity I would enjoy adding to my daily schedule would be sitting through a movie or tv show.”

3. What is one of your triggers when it comes to your mental health?

CeCe: “One of my triggers is being reminded of my past, any trauma that I went through.”

4. Do you need constant motivation to get tasks done?

CeCe: “Yes. I need a ton of motivation to get even the simplest tasks done.”

5. What does depression mean to you?

CeCe: “Depression means setting myself up for failure no matter what it is I’m doing. It means feeling myself deteriorate with each passing day.”

6. How can family and friends help you through a difficult time?

CeCe: “ Friends and family can tell me everything is going to be alright. They can be supportive and understanding during my times of struggle and regression.”

Depression and anxiety affect many people in different ways. Some symptoms can be similar to others. Getting treatment and finding ways to cope is different for everyone. If you have loved ones suffering from depression and anxiety do not hesitate to reach out to them. Let them know you are there for them. Seek professional advice or help if needed.

My name is Kim. I’m a 27-year-old, stay at home mom. I have a wonderful one-year-old son and enjoy reading, writing, and spending time with my family. Come check out my blog sometime at https://www.happymommytiredmommy.com.

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