Three Gratitudes – A Journalling Practice

Most days, I write in my journal. It’s mostly gibberish, brain farts I have to get out so I can sleep or irrational worries I want to ridicule on the page so I can get on with the rest of my day. But one thing I do regularly in my mind, even when it doesn’t make it onto the page is the 3 Gs practice. No, it’s not an inferior cellular network – it’s just a very simple practice that leaves you in a better mood to start, or end, your day.

3 Gs stands for 3 Gratitudes (yes, that noun can be countable TEFL teachers) and the three gratitudes you choose fall into one of three categories.

The first gratitude is where you acknowledge a PERSON that you are grateful for. You don’t need to write the reason, but it will often amplify the feeling of gratitude if you can state specific reasons that you are grateful to, or for them in your life.

The second gratitude is where you acknowledge an EXPERIENCE that you are grateful for. Again, writing in detail about the experience will applify your gratitude for it. It doesn’t need to be an experience that you have already had – it could be from the past, present or future. I try to stick with the present or recent past, and only dip into the past of near future if I’m struggling.

The third gratitude is where you acknowledge a POSSESSION that you are grateful for. Don’t get all spiritual and feel guilty about the material world for a second – just be thankful for that phone, laptop or tablet, and if you can state the reasons why, it may make you feel even more so.

If for whatever reason you are struggling to come up with an example in each category or feel anything for your choices, rather than assuming that you are ungrateful or lacking imagination, answer these questions:

  • What would life have been like (or currently would be like) without this person (just pick someone randomly) in my life?
  • What would life have been like (or currently would be like) without this experience (just pick one) in your life?
  • What would life have been like (or currently would be like) without this possession (just pick something) in my life?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Below I’ve written some ideas to get your gratitude juices flowing.

Person

Partner, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, mates, colleagues, customers…doctors, nurses, shop workers, postal workers, train drivers, carers, scientists, farmers, engineers, teachers…the list is endless.

Experience

Future holidays may be a distant dream, but past holidays can be a pleasant memory to be grateful for, but there are some really basic daily experiences that when you think about it, make you thankful e.g. breathing easily through your nose (no hay fever or cold), breathing at all (try WHM), hot showers, homemade food, walks in nature, my children’s laughter, my children wanting my attention, breaking a fast, waking up before my alarm goes off, reading a book, watching a film or TV show, electricity to power lights, kettle, internet…and again, I’ve been doing this for a few years so these come easily. Right now, this lockdown experience offers some positives, some reasons to be thankful – as well as all of the upheaval and tragedy. I’m not denying that the negative is there, or could be there the very next moment, just making the decision to focus on what’s positive.

Possession

I have too many possessions and I am making an effort to be more minimalist. The possessions that I do own that I’m regularly grateful for include my phone, my laptop, my TV and fire stick. My books, my clothes, my car, my home, my camera, my guitar.

Next Level Gratitude

Sometimes I look at something I own, maybe a shirt is missing a button or my bike tyre is flat – and a lot of the time, I’ll put off fixing those things. This is a habit that I need to change, if I want to take my gratitude to the next level.

It’s all well and good being grateful in my head, writing it down in my journal – it feels good and puts me in a better state of mind. But the next step is to tell that person, “Thank You”, to share that positive experience with those close to you – not necessarily on Facebook or Instagram, just a closed Whats app group perhaps? And I need to maintain my possessions – sew on those buttons, pump up those tyres, or give those possessions away if they start to feel as if they own me rather than other way around.

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Thank You

Thank you Uncle Michael – the life and soul of every party, thank you for those caravan holidays in Norfolk, thank you for the book of birds you gave me as a kid that I’m now sharing with my children.

Thank you everyone for reading, liking, sharing, commenting and subscribing. I made it to day 10, so these posts will be weekly from now on. With any luck the reduction in pressure to produce so much quantity will result in an improving quality.

Younger You?

Apologies in advance if you arrived here in search of the fountain of youth. I’m not here to sell snake oil or beauty creams. At some point, I will blog about the benefits of a plant-based diet, intermittent fasting, quality sleep and exercise, but not yet.

Photo by Gabriela Guerino on Pexels.com

This post is about two powerful questions, the answers to which could change your life and the lives of your nearest and dearest. But rather than jump straight into the questions themselves, let me set the scene.

No Flux Capacitor Required (just an imagination…or some alcohol)

Time travel suddenly becomes possible – but only to the past I’m afraid. The other issue is, you can only send small inanimate objects back. Oh, and did I mention, only as far back as ten years. The science behind it all just gets too messy if you go back any further!

Now if you thought Royal Mail was expensive, you should see the cost of sending anything bigger than a postcard! Astronomical! Completely unaffordable – unless you’re Jeff Bezos. So that’s where we’re at.

A postcard. A pen. A portal to the past. A potentially life-improving exercise.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

I really do want to read your answers to this question – especially if you’re older than me (unlikely) or wiser (highly probable) – that is, if you’re brave enough to share them in the comments.

I can only write about what I would tell my twenty-nine year old self, and after watching The Butterfly Effect again recently, I would be very wary about sharing too much with him. Will changing the past make things worse?

Well let’s just assume that in our hypothetical scenario, we can advise ourselves to stop any bad habits or tendencies – or to take some smarter actions – without any negative impact on what’s going well right now.

For instance, if I were to write on my postcard, “stop drinking alcohol”, I can imagine the ten years worth of the benefits I would have experienced from having made that decision, without the fear of my son never having been born. Just kidding. Hmmm.

So what would I tell me?

What do I wish at thirty-nine years old, I had been told at twenty-nine or earlier?

Think less, read and write more – when I’m following this advice I am definitely more productive and have fewer sleep problems (insomnia). But reading and writing are so energy intensive sometimes, and thinking – even the same, repetitive, negative thoughts, seems to be my default. Paralysis by analysis, my biggest flaw. Maybe if I had taken this advice more seriously ten years ago, I would have finished my novel already? Nah.

Quit the sugar – I know it’s not the most expensive or lethal white powder out there, but it’s definitely not doing me any favours. I am a sugar addict. I can take or leave meat and alcohol, abstinence is not hard, but going without an evening sugary treat actually depresses me. My evening meal is not complete without dessert – I will literally go to bed feeling hard done by. And moderation is not something I do well. Intermittent fasting has helped, with my eating cut-off time being 18:00 – but you should see the binge eating feeding frenzy I’m in at 17:59. Not pretty. My abs will retain their “hide and seek” title for as long as this habit continues.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Quit the screens – I go from my phone, to my laptop, to my phone, to the TV and back again, all day, every day. I had four channels and a VHS player as a kid in the 1980s, so a lack of portability limited my screen time. No such ceiling these days. I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone in January – and lasted six weeks – and that definitely helped a bit. But when all of this Covid-19 business kicked off, FOMO took over. Apps were downloaded, my YouTube channel surfing went through the roof (Dr John Campbell and Sky New Live in particular), and I felt the sudden urge to start another blog (giving me the perfect excuse). I can always justify my next screen fix, “but I’m cycling simultaneously,” or “but it’s research for my novel.” Lockdown is hardly conducive to kicking this habit, but when I get out, oh, when I get out…

Quit buying stuff – Just before this lockdown, when the charity shops were still open, I had a clear out and donated three large black bags of “stuff”. Clothes, books, DVDs, pointless gizmos I would never have used and yet, I did not return empty handed. Three second hand books accompanied me and took their place on my bookshelf…probably to gather dust, until my next charity shop trip. The books only cost £1, but when I started to think about what the contents of those three black bags had cost me, brand new, I sighed. Stuff and lottery tickets, such a waste. Think of all the money I could have saved to invest! Invest in what? Well, I’m no FTSE expert but if I had been doing that for the last ten years I’d probably be feeling a bit down at the moment. Given the option, I would probably invest in an office/pain cave – this would be in the hope of producing 50,000 words than rather than re-enacting fifty shades (see below):

Now for some homework.

Take another postcard. Date this one, ten years hence (2030, for the non-Dickensian amongst you). Imagine this is decade-older you. What advice is this older, wiser you going to have? What pieces of advice do you want to give yourself to live by? What can you start, or stop, right now that will make it more likely you end up where you want to be in ten years?

Quit, or at least spend less time on gaming or social media?

Read more books, watch less news?

Hug more – once we’re allowed again – and criticise less?

Save more, spend less?

Listen more, talk less?

Play more, stress less?

Looking forward to your answers – share the wisdom peeps!

Thank You

Blog post 5 of 10 written and published! Wooo we’re half way there….!!!

Views are sky-rocketing (worldwide) but I’m short on likes, shares, comments and subscriptions so far. Your contributions are all appreciated.

Still learning my chops, so bear with me – but it feels good to engage my mind on a daily basis and try to put my brain farts in some sort of logical, if not literary, order.

Take care out there – get back inside, unless you were out for exercise or essentials. Check in tomorrow.