Double Dividends of Gratitude

Last night I committed two cardinal sins that effected me greatly. One, I had a cup of coffee at 6:30 pm as I prepared to have a Zoom Meeting with our Board of Elders. Two, I watched CNN at 11:00 pm.

The coffee and the Elder Board meeting was a sure-fire cocktail to guarantee I would not be going to bed early or fall asleep fast. I am always energized by the Elder meetings and that gets my brain going and coffee is never a good idea for a fifty-something year old after 4:00 pm.

Then you throw in the weight of the international news so late at night and I knew that I was ready to fight to fall asleep. But I was pleasantly surprised last night.

I have recently begun to incorporate a nesting set of Tiny Habits with my bedtime routine. Let me explain. For years I have had the habit of quoting Psalm 139: 23-24 when I get into bed, after Joanne and I pray together.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

This scripture always helps settle my spirit, and I will quote it in my head as many times as I need to calm myself. Now enter the Tiny Habits. Dr. B.J. Fogg is a person that I have followed for a number of years and he has developed a simple way to create strong and lasting habits. He does this through the use of Tiny Habits.

Simply put a Tiny Habit is something you can do in 30-60 seconds and that is tied to something you already do habitually. It is a proven method to help people develop healthy and lasting habits.

So, for me, when I sit on the edge of my bed at night and set my alarm on my phone the next morning, as soon as I set my phone down, I take three deep breaths to relax my body before I lay down. Then I lay down and quote Psalm 139. So I have nested two Tiny Habits together.

Those two Tiny Habits usually do the trick to get me to relax, but over this last few weeks, with a bit of extra anxiety from all that is happening in our world, I have chosen to nest in one more Tiny Habit to this routine.

Now, immediately after I pray Psalm 139, I list two or three things I am grateful for. It has been proven that gratitude has very positive implications for our mental wellbeing. As I have gotten in the habit of doing this, I have found that usually as soon as I practice gratitude my thoughts usually turn more positive and creative, rather than negative and fearful.

If you struggle with fear or anxiety, you may wish to try something similar with Tiny Habits and especially gratitude. It can have a huge impact on our mood and our resiliency.

Do you want to get even more out of the habit of gratitude? Would you love to not only help yourself feel better, but spread that feeling to someone else? Then I encourage you to add one more habit, that may not be so tiny but have a huge impact on you and others.

Every time you acknowledge gratitude for another person, chose to reach out to that person within 24 hours to express that appreciation to them. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel, and you know how good it will make the other person feel as well.

Want to hear more and be more motivate? Then watch the following video!