I was watching Hailey Bartholomew’s TED talk the other day and it got me thinking how grateful we might truly feel if only we could teach ourselves to stop and take notice. To notice the little things that make us grateful. Her story is inspiring in the simplest of ways. There was not a big crisis. She did not go through a divorce, experience a death, or lose her job. Like many, Hailey was feeling flat, disconnected from the joys of her life, depressed. She committed herself to 365 days of noticing the positives instead of noticing what, and who, wasn’t meeting her expectations. She set out to notice, access and appreciate the positives in her life. The little things that made her smile, laugh, think differently. She dedicated herself to creating positive awareness through photographs. Each day for 365 days she would photograph something that made her feel grateful. From umbrellas on a rainy day to her husband giving her the biggest slice of pie. Through her project she began to notice that her unrealistic expectations of others had prevented her from appreciating how good they really were. That for the most part they were showing up and trying to be enough for her. She learned from her 365 Grateful Project to reprogram her brain to notice, filter in, and appreciate the many things in her life that once went unnoticed yet now fill her with gratitude, stating, “Sometimes we don’t see how great life around us is because we’re not looking for it”.

While 365 days may seem like a lot of days to remember to stop and take notice, especially when grieving, adjusting to change or beginning a new chapter, but imagine how good you will feel to know that every day for 365 days you were able to notice a person, place, or thing that made you smile, feel comfort, content, inspired, cared for…grateful.

Some strategies:

  • Create a photobook of gratitude as Hailey did:
    Take one photograph a day of an image that makes you feel grateful.
  • Share your gratitude: Email, write, or text one person each day thanking them, (from a family member or friend to your mail delivery person, librarian, teacher or coach).
  • Keep a gratitude journal: Each day a new entry, (can be a gratitude statement or an entire page, no right or wrong way to do this).
  • Create a gratitude box: Fill an old shoe box with gratitude awareness statements, one each day.
  • Gratitude out loud: Each night at dinner or bedtime say out loud something/someone that you are grateful for.