I think being grateful is a good way to reduce stress and combat depression. But it is easy to forget to be grateful. Unfortunately the opposite is not true. It is easy to develop a negative attitude. We don’t have to remember to be negative. The downers of life can simply lead us there. But they don’t have to.
So I’ve decided to take action. I am creating a habit of gratefulness.
Habits are formed by repeated practice until they seem like the most natural thing to do. But in order to build a new habit you need someway of reminding yourself to practice it. Here’s mine:
I now carry in my pocket a memorial coin my son gave me. It is from his first Scott Firefighter Stair Climb to raise money for leukemia research. Each year he dedicates his climb to me. And two weeks later I do the civilian version, called The Big Climb, with him.
Anyway, I have a rule that every time I touch that coin I will think of something I’m grateful for. The coin gets touched at least twice each day: in the morning when I put it in my pocket and the evening when I take it out. That means that every day I have to come up with a minimum of two things. Of course I reach into my pocket during the day to fetch keys, change, etc. Sometimes I find myself just fidgeting with the coin for no particular reason. So I might touch that coin four or five times a day. That’s a LOT of thank you’s.
It is already making a difference in my attitude and thinking in general.
So give it a shot. I’ve heard of one person who uses a small rock. It doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s an object of special significance to you.