‘Tis the season for turkey and thanksgiving, and thankfulness is one of the easiest things you can do to support your creative practice.
Think about it: it’s hard to make art when you’re in a funk. To create anything, we have to feel that what we make matters, that the world we live in matters, and that the life we live matters. Optimism is absolutely necessary to the creative practice, and regularly being thankful is an easy way to stay positive, even when life is difficult.
Gratitude and creativity go hand-in-hand.
With that in mind, here are three easy tools ensure you are grateful more than one day a year:
- A gratitude journal: Whether you choose to keep a private blog or a notebook, writing down what you are thankful for regularly is one of the most common ways of maintaining a grateful attitude. Making journal entries daily or weekly will remind you of everything that has gone well–each small win or act of kindness you’ve experienced–and maintain a record of it.
- grateful160.com: If you have trouble keeping up with journals, this might be the ideal tool for you. This little app will email or text you up to four times a day, asking you to reply quickly with something you’re grateful for in that moment. Far beyond that one aunt that insists on doing a “This year, I’m thankful for” round-robin before you can eat, a grateful160 account can help you build a regular, all-day, everyday habit of feeling thankful. Once a week, it sends you a list of your most recent replies, giving you a nice reminder of all the week’s gifts.
- An evening gratitude practice: When you are laying in bed at night, just before you go to sleep, come up with five things that you are thankful for from your day. Say them out loud. Make sure you include WHY you’re grateful for them. Not only is this a good way to end each day on a positive note, but it also teaches you about what you most enjoy. If you have a partner, you can do this exercise with them as a way to debrief from your busy life.
Remember that gratitude is a habit. Like any other habit, it can take time to for it to become a part of your routine and your mindset. Ultimately, though, being thankful lifts you above the negativity and pessimism that can pull us away from our will to create. Make use of it!
Happy Thanksgiving! How have you used gratitude in your creative process?