A few months ago I read Martin Seligman’s Flourish, and while I knew some of the concepts (he is the founder of the Positive Psychology concept), I hadn’t tried actually writing a gratitude list at the end of every day.
Turns out, it was one of the happiest and most fulfilled periods of my life.
It’s also scientifically proven that focusing on gratitude every day boosts the brain’s happiness level, by focusing our attention on what’s positive.
We do have a propensity of focusing mostly on the negatives – because our brain is wired for that. In prehistoric times, we were not used to watching the sky and smelling the flowers – we had to be on the constant lookout for the saber-tooth tiger that might attack any moment. So we’re much more sensitive to whatever can go wrong in the environment. Tens of thousands of years passed by, and although there are no more tigers lurking in the shadows, that doesn’t mean our brain has stopped looking for them. In the meantime, our “tigers” are hidden in daily life small issues. They may be tiny, but they’re so repetitive, that sometimes they’re more damaging than the actual “real” tiger.
So it’s recommended that we balance this constant lookout for whatever may go wrong, with focus on what’s good.
Also known as “smelling the roses”, gratitude exercises (like these ones) are the biggest thing nowadays that help our constantly-stressed, anxious and depressed minds.
My personal experience writing gratitude exercises was simple, as Seligman puts it.
Every day, write down 3 things you’re grateful for.
They can be small, like hearing a bird chirp in the morning.
Or huge, like connecting with a loved one or being promoted.
It really doesn’t matter – the focus and the habit are more important.
So I was very happy to hear that there’s a planner coming out that incorporates this gratitude tool!
The Panda Planner is now on Kickstarter and I was impressed by the founder’s story, who himself battled with depression and lack of meaning in life. So he actually developed this planner first for himself.
It’s very simple as a structure, and I love that it’s focusing on gratitude and intention, rather than on to-do-lists.
On the minus side, I never much liked affirmations, so I wouldn’t use that part, but for some people I know that could work. Also, I would love a bit of color – but maybe in the future this will be added
If you’re interested in backing the project or getting the planner for yourself, here’s the link.
(Note: I am not an affiliate and do not receive any financial benefits from this post – the opinions written are entirely my own).