How do you stay positive working from home all the time? – a client asked me. For a long time, in the first few years of remote work, I actually struggled with a lot of negative thoughts, stronger and darker feelings (every day small failures getting more under my skin than usual) and unexpected low moods. So I started researching the art of working from home and came across positive psychology studies.
One of the key elements of positive emotional life while working from home is an ongoing gratitude practice. Initially, I was worried that this would add to my list of things to do in the morning and in the evening, but I quickly realised that when practised, it’s actually more a question of a positive mindset. Here is how to learn it.
Every morning take a moment to notice three things you are grateful for, no matter how obvious or small. Even if you feel you are listing the same things every day, as long as you really mean it, that’s ok. On some days for me, it’s the sunshine. We get a lot of sunny days in Bristol, so it’s a constant item on my list these days. Often it’s my son’s smile, my dog’s tail wave or my husband’s kind word. Sometime’s it’s a small thing – a smile from a passerby or a birdsong. Occasionally it is something really big, a milestone at work, for instance. But I always list at least three things.
Every evening I look back on the day and notice a few other things that really went well, and maybe one thing I could have done better. This quick review sums up the day and welcomes an intention for the next one too.
Initially, it can be easy to skip days so it’s worth recording the gratitude lists. Because I love journaling, the Five Minute Journal was the key for me to set up this new habit. Later, when I filled it up, I moved on to their free mobile app to continue and to even include daily photos in my entires. And in time I stopped writing it down. It sometimes is just a quick thought over a cup of coffee or even in the shower. But I always set myself up for the day noticing a few good things.
The magic happens especially when the day proves difficult. Somehow the challenges become easier to overcome and the day feels lighter.
Try it out and let me know how it goes. Gratitude meditation is now tried and tested to improve people’s overall wellbeing so it’s safe to say that those few minutes in the morning and in the evening won’t go to waste. I’d love to know how a gratitude practise works for you?