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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross

A Common Gratitude

At the start of this year, I decided I wanted to take some steps toward improving my mental health. The first of which is giving mindfulness a try. It’s a tool you use to be more mindful of your thoughts and how they affect your mood. So if you feel like a failure instead of accepting the fact of your brain saying “I’m a failure” you simply say “I notice I had the thought that I think I’m a failure.”

Sometimes my brain is like a giant ball of knotted-up Christmas lights that have been in storage for 11 months. Tangled with half the lights out and three of them are blinking and you don’t know why. I told a few friends about my goal to try this and one of them, for my birthday, surprised me with a mindfulness journal. It looks like any other kind of spiral-bound notepad or journal, but the pages inside are designed to help you be more aware of you how you feel day to day.

There are two pages for each day, one for the morning and one for the evening. These pages have prompts for you to fill in about your goals for that day on the morning side, and your thoughts on how the day went on the evening side. There’s even a 1-10 chart for you to circle how you felt your energy was that day. My favorite part of the evening side is where it asks you to list “thoughts to clear your mind.”

This works wonders for me as I often tend to lay in bed with my brain in a loop over a variety of things. I’ve noticed an actual change there from being able to write some of those thoughts down. Now on the morning side of things, which I do when I sit with my first cup of coffee for the day, it lets you list three things you’re feeling grateful for that day.

I write the date at the top of the page each morning so I can keep track, and look back on down the road. So far, for the almost two months I’ve been filling out the journal, I’ve noticed one common thing that I list each day in the “things I’m grateful for” section. Coffee. Almost every single day I’ve listed coffee as the first thing I’m grateful for. Maybe it has to do with the fact I’m having my first cup, but really, I think it’s just a fact of my life that one of my great loves is coffee.

Let’s look at the fact. I’m a writer, writers traditionally thrive on coffee. I’m also a creative type of person, and they tend to be drawn to coffee. Yes, coffee does rule all around me. I’ve talked before in these pages about how I am very much a “do not speak to me till I’ve had that first cup” kind of person. I need that time to come to terms with myself.

Yes, I am grateful for coffee. It’s what I need to get me going and sometimes I turn to it too much. I do, sadly, find that as I’m getting older I have to switch over to decaf at a certain part of the day unless I wanna be up all night wired and ready to run a marathon. Yes, coffee. I shall keep listing it every single day when I journal, then drink it while I work, then hopefully not get the jitters and be a nervous wreck all afternoon.

Or maybe I should embrace that. As noted coffee lover Jerry Seinfeld once said “I like the anxiety” you get from coffee.” See you next week.


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