I have what you call a negative brain. Wired for negativity. I call it ‘realism’ and ‘cynicism’ but it is negative. Not about everything because I am also blessed with an awesome goofy sense of humor. But, when it comes to any scenario I go negative. And my spouse isn’t wired that way at all.
An example is something that is on my mind right now that I am in extreme worry mode. My spouse’s workplace is being shut down. He will be laid off or moved to another shop location.
How he sees it:
A) I will get moved to a new location and get to learn a new job. I have been working this job for 13 years and it will be interesting to try something new. I have been thinking of the idea of trying something new and this will be a great opportunity. Plus longer shifts will mean more money.
B) If I get laid off there is a severance package and that at least will mean we will be fine until I find something new, which is a stress reliever in itself, right?
How I see it:
A) Mass panic and uncertainty in the future.
B) Change. I don’t like it.
C) What if… everything. What if he doesn’t like that job? What if working long hours sucks badly? What if they don’t hire him there and there is nothing else here given the unemployment rate is so damn high? What if we don’t make enough to budget our debt?
It is weird. I like a lot of stability. And change… I don’t like it. And when it happens my brain immediately prepares for apocalyptic scenarios just in case. So if they happen I can be mentally prepared for it. And am never surprised, obviously. I rather don’t comprehend a positive outlook since I have never had it, but his grounds me sometimes. I go negative and think of all my scenarios and he grounds me with a few frank practical points. And then I go ‘oh right, I suppose that is true.’
Thus my point. I need to do the work for gratitude journaling. My brain needs the positive reflection on my day after working on all its negative action it does. It needs to ground itself in some positive reflection on things in the day I am thankful and grateful for. Because I am. So I focus at night on three things I am grateful for.
Today here are 4:
- Spending time with my mom shopping for my spouse and book shopping. Book shopping being one of my favorite all time things to do. And grateful to spend time with my mom Always.
- Celebrating spouses birthday with one of our friends we have not seen in a while today. Thankful to have the company of a friend we have not seen in a few months.
- Thankful for my spouse and his ability to calm my nerves when I worry. There is just something calming about his view of the world sometimes. I mean, he does internalize stress, but when it comes to problems he is far more straightforward and practical. Whereas I am let’s worry for a long period of time, think of worst case scenario and potential solutions to all of them and not for a second think anything will work out for the best.
- For the awesome books I picked up today. Look like good ones! And one was on sale!
So what are the benefits of gratitude journals?
- They do in fact lower stress levels
- They help at night to calm you down, as you are focusing at the end of the day on positive reflections of your day or life. And not stresses and worries.
- Helps you gain perspective on what in fact matters to you a great deal in your life and maybe what you want to encourage more of.
- Boosts mood which I why I am supposed to do it.
On a side note, this is also why I need meditation. More stress relief as well. Calms my brain a bit. And I can do that any time I want to.
Get yourself started with a nice simple gratitude journal: