Almost a month into 2017, Its been a rather uneasy start for me and an absolute dive in to work, life and all that life abounds with. It’s during times of extremes like these (including all the negative news around) that I find myself reminiscing about the impact of the gratitude challenge I took with all of you at the end of 2016 — a few moments of bliss in remembering what was and what lessons the experiences have taught me.

In my last post for last year, I had requested you all to do a 21 day challenge with me — it was a simple Q and A, one per day for 21 days to close 2016 with. I did not expect the results I had and as promised, its now time for a check-in and find out how you are doing and if this exercise resulted in any changes for you (As it did for me). Please leave me a note and let me know please, greatly appreciate it.

Also Read: More Culture Cubicle Columns by Monica Jasuja

In the meanwhile, these are 3 things I learnt from the gratitude shift exercise:
This is as personal as it gets but in sharing this I know I am inviting positive feedback and similar experiences from each one of you reading the piece for which I am grateful.

1. My Biggest Critic is Me/Myself and I

The biggest disadvantage of being one’s own biggest and worst critic is that none of the good that happens to you sticks, it’s often drowned by the critical voice in one’s head. Yes, the same one that often exaggerates the negative and undermines the positive.

With every single day of the gratitude exercise, reminiscing on something to be grateful about and putting it on paper, I was able to register many more instances of victories/successes and doing good. The mental notes stuck and their imprint in the heart is stronger than the noise the negative voice makes (when it does appear, which is more frequent than I’d like it to be).

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I often remind myself of this quote and shift my current thoughts to backing myself to the hilt.

2. In (Trying To) Be Ahead, I Have Let Go of the Now

With many more distractions and an absolute lack of single minded focus to anything, being in the digital age is disruptive. But the effect on the mind to register what is going on is also hampered.  Shifting from one task to another, often multi-tasking and getting distracted by beeps demanding attention means we are never really being, just passing from one moment to another in a constant state of doing. And it’s in this overwhelming need to do that I find myself never truly being present in the now. This explained why the many things to be grateful for did not find a home in my conscious memory to give me happiness and comfort when I needed it the most.

I highly recommend Eckhart Tolle’s bestseller and the bible of living in the moment “The Power of Now.”

It leaves you with one trick: Focus on the now and what is (amongst the many other lessons and gifts it leaves the readers with). The constant rumination of the past and the future is now a little bit under control.

3.  Worry, Complaint, Negative Thinking and Rumination Deprives Action

By not being grateful for what is, I also allowed myself to be focused on the negative. The worry from that left me exhausted. But by shifting my perspective on comforting thoughts resulting from gratitude, I now observe that my brain processes what is happening currently more effectively and initiates action where possible instead of mindless ruminating over the what-ifs.

I also now have two strategies to continue along the path of gratitude — write down anything that you are grateful for, whenever you remember, or as an exercise at the end of the day. Recall all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for, when in a moment of doubt and any uncertainty, negativity, worry will vanish.

You can do this with a miracle jar (if you like the feel of writing on paper) or an email to yourself with a subject line like “Today I am grateful for …”. The collection of small miracles you would have experienced is a real treat for the soul.

What are some things you did in your gratitude exercise which you would like to share? Leave a comment in the text box and let me know.

Thank you for reading my post. Hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please remember to leave a comment. It motivates me to continue writing more stories like this one and yes, it helps people find this post too. Post any feedback or question you have in the comment box below, or tweet to me @jasuja on Twitter.

About the author: Monica Jasuja is a Payments Ninja specializing in Digital Payments Initiatives to further India’s progress as a less cash dependent economy. She is a Product Strategist with work experience in 4 geographies globally and brings knowledge and firsthand experience of designing, developing products with the wow factor. This article expresses her personal views, and not those of any of her employers—past, present or future.