Sleeping With Gratitude

Published in Just Breathe Magazine, October 2014.   

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It’s not unusual to go to sleep with the problems of the day. But what if, instead, you could go to sleep with all things positive?

For many years now, I have a ritual that helps me unwind before I go to sleep. I turn off the laptop at least an hour beforehand and jot down a list of things to do for tomorrow so I don’t worry about forgetting them by the morning. I turn off the main bedroom light and use the soft bedside light only. Occasionally, I burn some lavender oil a few hours earlier to help me sleep.

Most of the time, these things work. But there are times when despite doing all of this, I still find myself going to bed preoccupied or even a little bit down-hearted. Maybe the day had not been as good as I had hoped; somebody had been nasty, I lost out on a job. You get the idea.

So whenever those days risk destroying my sleep, I bring out the one sure thing I know will lull me into a good night’s sleep: my gratitude journal.

Every year, I buy a journal with a beautiful cover that relaxes and calms me. I write the date at the top of the page and then write everything that happened in that day that I am thankful for. I aim for at least three good things at a minimum. If it has been a truly awful day and I can’t find a redeeming feature at the time, there is always my gorgeous daughter that I can write at the top of my list! I am forever thankful for her.

As soon as I have written her name in my gratitude journal, I find myself smiling. My mood begins to lift and I calm. Then I reflect back on my day. What else could I be thankful for? A kind act by a work colleague? A call from a friend? The fact the bus was on time and I didn’t have to wait in the rain? When we start to look for the good, no matter how small it may be, something shifts in our thinking; we feel more positive.

A gratitude journal does more than just allow us to reflect on the good of each day. It helps us to focus on the positive rather than the negative; it provides hope when we feel there is none. It pushes loneliness away as we remember we have friends or family around who support us. Or we may simply recognise and be thankful for the strength we have within ourselves. Regardless of what we write, it allows us to close our eyes with a sense of calm and gratitude.

The more you focus on the good, the more you attract it. It’s a simple but proven philosophy. The more you believe that there is good in your life, the more your attitude and behaviour lifts and you emit positive, attractive energy. That cycle of positivity attracts more positive energy and so it continues to grow.

And if at some stage, yet again, things don’t seem to run according to plan, sit down with your gratitude journal and re-read some of your past entries. It may just remind you of all the things you’d forgotten about that made you smile. Finishing each day with an attitude of gratitude is a wonderful way to close your eyes and dream of creating an amazing tomorrow.