Lately, I’ve been feeling more critical and negative about my life. It’s been very hard to shift from this mindset. So I decided to create a gratitude journal and to come up with a gratitude list for overwhelmed moms, like me, and drill the importance of having a grateful attitude over and over again.
I want to focus on mothers as one, I’m a mom myself and two, I believe with all the shittiness this 2020 has brought, mothers are usually the one who’s bearing the brunt of this pandemic (No offense to dads out there, especially to the hands-on fathers).
I hope to help stressed, overwhelmed and anxious mothers out there, who desperately wants to see the good and positive, in the chaos that they might be dealing with everyday.
And one way to do that, to keep things in perspective and to maintain a positive attitude through these challenging times, is to practice the art of being grateful.
Importance of Gratitude
I wrote “How To Teach Gratitude to Toddlers” and listed down the things I’ve researched about the powers and benefits of practicing gratitude for young children.
Read that one if you’re curious and would like to teach gratefulness to your kid but in a nutshell, gratitude can:
- Improve your physical health – reduces risk of heart attacks, less prone to body aches and ailments, improves your sleep
- Improve your mental health – decreases or blocks out negative emotions of envy, resentment and regret, improves self-esteem, makes your more resilient, lessens stress, less likely for you to succumb to depression
- Improve relationships – makes you a better friend and desirable romantic partner
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How to Write a Gratitude List
It can be quite overwhelming when you’re just starting to practice the art of being grateful. You may not know where or how to begin.
If you think about it too much, there just seems to be so many things to be thankful about, that you may start to feel bad for not being grateful in the first place.
If you don’t put a serious thought about it, you may just write shallow, superficial things that may not really help with the mental shift you’re aiming for.
Start with something small and simple. Focus on what made you genuinely happy today. It can be a compliment from someone, something that made you smile, hugging a person you love.
If it was a shitty day (let’s face it, this entire year has been shitty), you can start with the basics and necessities – what made you a fortunate person today?
The ultimate example for me would have to be “I’m healthy and alive today.”
Some examples can be:
“I have a job.”
“I have a house.”
“Everyone I love is healthy and safe.”
If someone made you smile today, write their name and describe what they did that made you happy today.
If you’re just starting this exercise, you don’t need to write so much about it, if you don’t feel like doing that.
Just try to be as specific and as descriptive as possible. So when you do a self-reflection and you start reading your gratitude lists, you’ll remember what exactly it was that you were grateful for.
Focus on experience and people
There’s nothing wrong with being thankful about the softest bed sheets, a bottle of wine and the most comfortable sweatpants you’ve ever worn. (Does every mom think like this, lol)
But giving thanks for experiences and the people in your life, does have more impact than the material things.
So instead of saying “I’m grateful for my bottle of wine”, you can turn that into “I’m grateful that we can afford to buy luxuries such as a bottle of wine.”
That has a more sobering effect and can lead to more grateful thoughts and realities.
Write by hand
When you write by hand, you tend to remember more of what you write.
Writing by hand is much slower and tedious, forcing you to process information and write it in such a way that makes sense to you.
So try to write by hand your gratitude list, use a gratitude journal instead of an app. Doing so makes you more thoughtful about the things you’re grateful for.
It’s like having a photo album vs storing all the pics in your phone. You tend to go through more and really look at the pics in a photo album vs quickly swiping through the pics in your phone.
So when you have a gratitude journal, instead of an app, you can be more attentive and thoughtful, allowing for a deeper, more authentic reflection of the people and experiences you’re thankful for.
Write more details
If you’re getting the hang of it, you can write longer, more descriptive phrases.
Doing so makes you focus intently on the feeling of gratefulness and happiness. Writing about it profusely will just make you happier and you’ll keep just looking forward to that feeling.
So include plenty of detail in your gratitude list. You might find that the smallest of things, the littlest of details, can add more impact to grateful and positive thoughts.
It takes time to get into the grateful mindset. If we all feel grateful, then everyone in this world would be happy and none of us would be dishing and giving shit to anyone. Because happy people don’t inflict pain and suffering into other people. But I digress.
So turn this into a habit, be grateful everyday. Having a gratitude journal will help you with that, especially if it has a tracker – a 30 day gratitude challenge.
Put your gratitude journal in a place where you can easily see it everyday, so it will be effortless for you to grab it and use it.
You don’t need to write long, descriptive thoughts of thanks initially. Start with a line of gratitude per day.
Keep writing every day and you’d be surprised at what you’ve written at the end of the month. Keep track of it and start the whole process over and over again, until you can write longer and do a deeper self reflection.
Sample Gratitude Lists for Overwhelmed Moms
Here are some gratitude list examples to kickstart an attitude of gratitude.
I might be getting personal and more specific here but if you can relate to it and you want to use it, feel free to apply it to your own gratitude lists.
What to be grateful for:
- Waking up everyday with my family right beside me.
- Knowing that my family and other loved ones and friends are all well and healthy.
- Having the best in-laws (I feel so lucky to have them, seriously)
- Weekends that enables us to spend longer quality time with each other
- A cup of coffee to help me wake up and kickstart the day.
- A job that enables me to work from home and spend time with my family
- Being able to spend some time with my kid and seeing her grow up
- Being able to hug and kiss my kid anytime I want
- Me and my hubby for having a job that pays for all our necessities and more
- Having a proper house with all the working plumbings and comfortable rooms
- The food that that could last us for a few days
- A house that’s 5 minutes away from the neighborhood shops, grocery store, food establishments and the bus stop
- Still being able to exercise without getting easily injured
- Having the physical and mental strength to play with my toddler
- Living here in Singapore, where almost everything is efficient and convenient and where it’s mostly safe
- The mostly sunny, sometimes rainy weather
- Family and friends that might be geographically far but are only a FB chat away
- The other items that we might have taken for granted such as having a fast wifi connection, a spacious car, dryer, etc.
- For the park and trees near our home that are very relaxing to look at
- Waking up to birds tweeting and sometimes, a rooster crowing outside our house
- Quiet evenings and bright mornings
- For having kind and friendly neighbours
- Being self-aware and knowing that I can always improve and do better
- The opportunity to do this blogging life and hopefully to help another mama in need
- My creative and resilient personality
- Being able to read and learn all the knowledge that internet has to offer
- Knowing that I’m capable of other things, other than my job description/ actual responsibilities
- Kind strangers who create wonderful, educational things on the internet (also those we’ve met on the road, while walking home, etc.)
- Having the chance and the time to do the things that I want and I have to do today
- The promise of tomorrow and that I can become a better person
- Becoming a wife and a mom
- The chance to heal and learn from my childhood traumas
- Having the most responsible, trustworthy, patient, kindest, smartest husband
- Having a normal, clever, creative, confident and outspoken daughter
- Having 2 of the sweetest, gentlest, cutest cats in the world
If you’re a tired, overwhelmed mom and you’re reading this, I get you mama, I really get you.
I may not be in the exact situation as you are right now, but as parents, we both have more or less, the same issues, anxieties and fears.
And most of those are related to our family, particularly to our children.
If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed and depressed in your situation, I hope this gratitude list and this gratitude journal will help you overcome that mental block and make you see and realize what’s important and really matters.
Hang in there mama and if you feel like you just can’t deal with anything right now, take a step back from your usual responsibilities, even for just 5 minutes.
If possible, ask for someone’s help with the kids, chores, etc., and just focus on making yourself feel and think better.
The simplest way you can do that is by starting with your own gratitude list. Get yourself a simple gratitude journal and start practicing the art of being grateful.
Go to that mental space where you feel the happiest, the most relaxed, the most present, and start writing that down.
Read what you wrote and try to remember that feeling when you truly feel grateful and hold on to it, until you feel like you can face another day of challenges, routines and what not again.
You can do this, mama, I know you can. Hang in there.