It’s been a while since I’ve written about Daily Affirmations. I can tell. The thing is, I can’t just write about daily affirmations as a blog topic, I have to write about them because I have to live them. Just like an athlete who starts skipping training sessions begins to weaken certain areas of their body, when I start skipping my daily affirmations and Bible reading, my mind and attitude begin to weaken. I become more fearful and anxious, less patient and peaceful. I start doubting myself and God.
I have found, the best thing I can do to get back on track mentally, emotionally, and spiritually is to start thinking and saying, “I am thankful.” I know, this sounds so easy and almost too simple to have such an impact on everyday life, but it does. And this one seemingly simple practice, no discipline, not only affects my own mental health, but also the health of my family. Thankfulness is a powerful force.
Daily Affirmations: I Am Thankful
I could have worded this, “Daily Affirmations: I am grateful,” meaning full of gratitude. Instead, I chose “Daily Affirmations: I Am Thankful.” I liked the idea and image of being full of thanks. How much different would my day to day look if I was so full of thanks, it spilled out? I believe that would be a person who couldn’t help but say, “Thank you.” I believe I would be a momma teaching her children to live in an attitude of thankfulness. I believe I would be a wife who’s husband knows, she is thankful for the life she lives with him.
The first person I see in the morning is my husband and what if I greeted him by thanking him for his day-in-day-out faithful service to our family? What if I thanked him for getting up every morning, quietly, so he doesn’t wake up the rest of the house? How about a thank you for driving a morning commute? In an old car? With a broken air conditioner? Or working with difficult people? All to provide for our family. And, please listen closely, thanking him, without expecting anything in return.
Next, I see my children. What if I thanked them for being who they are? Instead of a “thank you for unloading the dishwasher” I simply said, “Thank you for being you. I think you’re a neat person.” I could also thank them for: helping a sibling, making us laugh, being a leader on the soccer field, loving God, smiling, trying…the list could go on and on. And the fun thing about thanking people, our husband and our children, is that once we start, we find more and more things to be thankful for.
What about grocery shopping later in the day; my cashier greets me, “Hi, did you find everything ok today?” Even if she doesn’t mean it or care, what if I responded, “Yes, thank you for asking.” Or even, “No, I couldn’t find the Vanilla Extract, but thank you for asking.” See, it doesn’t matter her intention, I could be thankful for the effort, even if rote. She could have not spoken to me at all right? That does happen.
Next time I take my children to soccer practice, what if I walked across the field and thanked the coach for taking the time to be there twice a week to coach my children? There are a million other things any one of us could be doing at any given moment right. This coach has volunteered his time or taken the job of committing his or her time and talent to teaching and forming my child. Maybe for you it’s the coach who instructs or encourages your child in the swimming pool, on the football field or in the dance studio. How far would a simple, “Thank you” go in their life?
What about the man or woman on the other end of a call to straighten out a bill, explain an insurance claim or a question about any one of the services to my home. Yes, it’s their job, but I would bet some of them would rather be doing anything else in the world. Look, my “job” is momma, but it does my heart good to hear one of my children say, “Thank you for dinner.” “Thank you for taking us to Church…soccer practice…to visit grandpa…to the store with you…”
I have to believe the world would be a different place, a kinder place, a more encouraging place, if more of us took the time to discipline ourselves with daily affirmations like, “I am thankful.”
And finally, although definitely not last, thankfulness to God. Life is not always easy, fun or beautiful…maybe that’s because I’m not always thankful for it. You might want to reread that. Considering the alternative to life…how much different and even better would life look if I actually starting thanking God for everything as St. Paul writes
I’ve written before about my intense struggles with my mind years ago. It just dawned on me the other day, I’m not sure I thanked God for healing me. I’ve thanked Him for some of the lessons learned and people I met during that time who helped me, but I couldn’t recall if I thanked Him for the actual healing. I don’t even know if I realized I had been “healed.” I think I just figured it was a lot of work and some time coming, but I made it out. While I’m at it, I could also thank Him for the tools I learned to deal with fear and anxiety during that time. I could thank Him for what that awful time taught me: the importance of reading my Bible, the importance of seeking professional guidance and counsel, the necessity of guarding my heart and mind, the need to practice gratitude on a daily basis, the desire to encourage other women who might be struggling like I was and more.
If you have not already started a gratitude journal, let me encourage to do so. If you have started one or three (ahem…) let me encourage you (and myself) to pick back up the practice of daily gratitude journaling. Here are a couple of suggestions for the actual journal:
This one is from Money Saving Mom, Choose Gratitude: Blessings Journal. I like that it is not just big, wide open, blank space; that can be intimidating.
Here is another option, One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book. Again, this little book is not just a bunch of white space. There’s room to jot down a couple things each day and the great thing about this little book, it’s meant to be used for five years. How much fun to look back at your past thankfulness as you’re writing down your present thankfulness. (Here’s another one similar, Every Day: A Five-Year Memory Book)
Travelers Notebooks are so popular, pretty, and easy to keep with you in your purse, beside your bed, in the car while waiting for pickup…Here is a pretty set of two.
Here’s a five pack of Composition Notebooks. You could encourage each member of your family to start keeping a gratitude journal. Start this practice with your little ones. It’s fun to hear their answers when you ask them what they are thankful for!
If you can’t buy something new or don’t want to buy something new, start with what you have. But start. The positive impact daily affirmations will have in your life, on your mind, and in your heart cannot be understated.