“The Gratitude Intention”, Going Strong on Day four!

Good morning folks! Welcome to the fourth day of my gratitude invoking experiment. For those that have been following my journey, welcome back! For those that just found “My Life Experiment” today, I am happy you stopped in! To get up to speed on what this experiment consists of please check out “Stay Woke with the Gratitude Intention.” There are also days one through three to read up on to get the full picture of what has happened during “The Gratitude Intention” so far!

Alright, time to get into how day four went down. In a lot of ways the day four was very similar to the past days I have written about. Though I find it important to write about it and read about it, even though they may look similar there are a lot of little details that are different. I find it important to notice these little details, because sometimes just the slightest detail can bring to light an aspect of the process that is of great importance.

I woke up pretty early on this chilly North Dakota Saturday, but i also had a recovery meeting to attend early this morning. I didn’t get a chance to write my gratitude list of ten things, I got 4 done in kind of a rushed way and I was cool with that. I can have a tendency to follow my routines a little too strictly and be too hard on myself when i don’t follow them “to the T”. But thankfully I have learned that it really doesn’t solve anything to beat myself up over “missing the mark.”. It’s like the dieter that eats a meal that they shouldn’t have (been there). What is best, to badger myself with guilt, or just move on and set my sights on getting back on track? I prefer the second option by a landslide!

stay flexible

My afternoon was geared toward appreciating the things around me. When I was driving around I turned off the music and was very mindful about how great my life is. I was breathing deeply, I was easily letting go of any stress inducing thoughts that arose. Moments like this are truly awesome, no fear, just freedom. I didn’t really find it necessary to stop fully and meditate on the things I was grateful for, since I was already feeling plenty of gratitude. But I did anyway, because that is what I set out to do in the experiment. I realize that even though I am only writing about this experiment short term (I think its temporarily anyway), that if the gratitude routine is beneficial, then I will be continuing it indefinitely. And if I am going to continue it then i better “weld” these steps into my brain so they become habitual!

My night at work went about the same way. Although my focus was more on taking care of the needs of my client than focusing on gratitude. Although when my client went to sleep I did take the opportunity to finish writing up the gratitude list I couldn’t finish earlier. It felt great to finish writing that, it led the way for some emotion to arise, and that is most definitely something I appreciate. Then I went home after work, cleaned out the litter boxes, chatted with my wife for bit, then went to bed. I was able to have a couple of minutes to meditate on the beauty of the day, but before I knew it I was waking up to the alarm.

Once again, thank you for checking out “My Life Experiment!” I appreciate all of you and my hope is for you to have a wonderful day that is full of awareness for the things to be grateful for. We are now over halfway through “The Gratitude Intention,” so my mind is busy thinking of the next experiment to begin. I don’t know what this experiment is yet but I do know it is going to offer me the opportunity to create important changes in my life. If you are interested in what my next life experiment will be please follow “My Life Experiment” and stay in touch!

 

Things to remember:

  • Everyday is different, and routines need flexibility.
  • Its never too late to get back on track.
  • I am trying to create a long-term habit here.

 

 

 

“The Gratitude Intention” Day Three!

day 3

Welcome! First off, for any new readers to get up to speed, please check out “Stay Woke with the Gratitude Intention.” Then if you would like to read day one and day two you can get a sense for what results I have had so far as a result of this process. If you have read all of them so far then thank you very much for being so supportive of  “My Life Experiment!”

Yesterday was my best morning yet! I woke up at 7 a.m., got my coffee, fed the cats, wrote my daily to do list and got busy on my gratitude list. I kept in mind what I remembered from Day two (make sure to put emotion into writing what I am grateful for), and I finally made it to writing ten things to be grateful for and WHY, unlike my first two days! Thankfully I had a particularly easy time thinking of things to be grateful for, and invoking the feeling of gratitude from them.

Throughout the day I began developing a busy mind, I felt excited, but also a bit edgy. I was pretty stuck to my phone, watching stocks, watching my blog stuff, getting work texts. I wasn’t really watching to see if I was breathing well though, I also wasn’t looking around for things to be grateful for as much as I was the other two days. When it became time to close my eyes and meditate it was actually difficult. I believe it was around 4 p.m. before I got myself in a place where I could meditate well enough to say I accomplished my goal. But I am happy with how the session turned out!

As the day went on I stayed in a halfway good mood and halfway anxious mood. I would describe the state I was in as highly motivated with out the mindfulness needed to keep myself from creating stress from thoughts that don’t need to create stress. Later on in the day I did finally catch up to the knowledge that I needed to slow my phone roll down, and just breathe. I also did a little writing about my baby girl that will be showing up in a couple months, and that had a calming effect as well!

HALT

Then I finally made it home, after my wife and I retrieved the cat food I forgot in the shopping cart in the parking lot at Target! We ate some late night pizza (I was very hungry). I checked my computer for any last minute things and then off to bed I was. Before I knew it I was zonked out sleeping! I forgot to remind myself of my bedtime meditation and so it never became a thing (I was very tired). Thinking the day over I guess the acronym H.A.L.T (see below) comes into play. I was hungry and I was tired, but I made it through the day well with all things considered!

Thank you so much for checking out “My Life Experiment”, tomorrow I will post day four for you and I am determined to pump as much gratitude into my life as I can possibly stomach today. This should make for an interesting read tomorrow! I wish you all the time in to world to cultivate your own gratitude in this day! But remember, just because it isn’t always easy to do, It always seems to be worth the effort.

 

Things to Remember

-I am not always going to find it easy to be grateful, and that is okay.

-Motivation is great, but it is much more neurotic and stressful without mindfulness.

-The acronym H.A.L.T (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) this is an acronym that means whenever I am in too much of any of these feeling states, I should be very careful of what I think, do, or say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to Day #2 of “The Gratitude Intention”!

DayTwo

Well everybody, we woke up again today and that is pretty darn good thing. I even woke up with a little energy to get into my gratitude routine! Thanks for checking out My Life Experiment to see what happened on Day two of “The Gratitude Intention.” For those that haven’t seen this blog before and want to be up-to-date on what is going on here then check out “Stay Woke with the Gratitude Intention.”

So yesterday I woke up even earlier than I did the day before at like 7:30 am! Hey, I didn’t have to be awake for another couple of hours so this is a big thing for me! Then I got my coffee going, got the cats fed, got my to-do list done and moved on to my gratitude list. Yesterday I only made it to five things to be grateful for and WHY, today I didn’t quite get to ten, but I did get to eight! I guess ten is going to have to be something I work towards.

Writing the gratitude list felt great once again! I spent a four-year period writing these gratitude lists every day, which I stopped doing about two years ago. Sometimes when I was writing the lists it felt very robotic, and I didn’t get much gratitude out of them some days. It seemed like I kept rushing to do what I needed to do out of necessity, and didn’t “stop to smell the roses” enough. As I get back into this routine I realize that at least part of my mission needs to be about making sure that I am putting some emotion into them, it seems to be the only way I get the FEELING of gratitude out of the writing process! I can sometimes seem like a Stoic and unemotional dude to others, but my history of immobilizing anxiety says there is much more there than meets the eye. The list is a good outlet for the energy.

In the afternoon I did manage to set aside the time to get my 10 minutes of gratitude meditation in! I didn’t lay down for it or anything like that. What I did was simply turn off the radio in the car as I waited for a client to get out of school so that I could take him home. I think it is so important to realize that all it takes to meditate is a little time (which can be very little), some quiet, and the willingness to turn down the go-go-go mindset that is so easy to spend an entire day in. In the last post on day one of the experiment I mentioned that I did not MAKE the time to meditate, but simply spent many different moments to make sure I was breathing well. It felt like a new little accomplishment to get that meditation in, though I did make sure to use what I learned the day before, and tried to do some mindful breathing as much as possible!

It was so nice to remember throughout the day that I am currently in an experiment to see how a routine with the Intention for Gratitude effects my life. Reminding myself that I will be telling a bunch of people about this process kept me paying much more attention to what I was thinking than normal (in a good way). This kept me alerted to times when my thinking began to get me stressed out. Then I just took a couple of breathes, relaxing on the out-breaths, and I pretty easily got back on track.

Fast-forwarding to the end of the night, I did my little ten-minute meditation while laying down in bed. My mind was racing a little bit about some current responsibilities, but I was able to slow it down with breathing and putting focus on the good in my day. Before I knew it, I was sleeping, I assume I made the ten minutes but never the less I went to sleep in a good place!

Of course tomorrow i will be waking up bright and early to get into the routine, and to fill you all in on how today went! If you want to know more, stay tuned. I deeply appreciate the attention you have given “My Life Experiment” and if you have any suggestions or any other type of comments please write them below. Also feel free to share this blog with anyone you know. Thank you for your support!

 

New Things Revealed:

  • I realized that it is highly important to put some energy into my gratitude list to actually FEEL gratitude from writing them.
  • I got a new reminder of how easy it really is to find a time to meditate, even during the middle of a weekday.
  • I seen how simply knowing that I would be telling people about my day, kept me on track to keep myself grateful.

First Day of “The Gratitude Intention”!

Day one

Good morning everyone! So, if you read my last post you may remember that I set the Intention to cultivate gratitude to see if it helps me stay more alert and connected to my life. I decided that for every day of the experiment, I would also make sure to add a blog post the day after (hopefully first thing in the morning), to update any things I am noticing about the process.
Yesterday I spent my first day writing my morning to-do list and gratitude list, and taking time outs for gratitude meditation. I ended up waking a little earlier than normal to write my daily lists, I was somewhat groggy, but brewed up the coffee, fed the cats, and got down to “brass tax”. Generally, I would like to sleep in for as long as I can in the morning, because it feels great! Maybe the other reason is like my wife says, “because we will be parents soon and we won’t be sleeping much anymore!”
While I was writing the lists, I had a familiar feeling but a very good one. First of all let me show you an example of the first gratitude I wrote. “I am truly grateful that I get to wake up in this beautiful new home of ours every morning! I adore living here. As I walk around to our different rooms and see what Casey and I now own, I feel a ton of gratitude. It is such a gift to live here”. Suffice it to say after writing five of these (note that I set out to do 10), I was feeling comfortable and ready to start my day.
You may have noticed that I didn’t end up writing as many things to be grateful for as I set out to do. I am alright with this because even writing just five of them worked very well for me. I also didn’t find the time to take my ten to fifteen minutes to meditate in the afternoon. Although I did find little moments throughout the afternoon to take a few deep breaths, relax, and think about what there is too appreciate! That worked great, but I will be getting to the routine as planned, tomorrow. Though by going off track from the routine I was reminded how powerful taking a couple of good breaths is for getting myself back to the moment!

At the end of my night I got back into the experiment as planned. I laid down, closed my eyes, did some relaxed breathing, and for roughly 15 minutes I allowed the things I appreciated about the day to flow through my mind. It was a great way to end my night. When something came to my mind that felt like it added more pressure to the moment (such as scheduling issues, money issues, etc..), I reminded myself that I would get back to taking care of that issue tomorrow. I ended my day grateful, then dozed off and slept like a baby!

So day one was a positive experience, I seem to be honing my routine still, which is good. Today I am off on the right track and I will tell you more about it tomorrow! Thanks for checking out “My Life Experiment” once again or for the first time! Now here is a recap of some of the benefits I noticed from this process yesterday!

Benefits

-I woke up early just to get my lists done.

-I found myself naturally coming to use my breathing to keep me in the moment.

-I found myself thinking of more ways to be grateful for throughout the day.

-I was generally in a pretty good mood.

-I slept great!