Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

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How to practice gratitude

The brain is a complicated thing that can run on several different levels at the same time. While we are consciously thinking, or talking, or doing chores, there is a busy back of house part of our brains that is searching and logging and classifying information like a very efficient and eager librarian.

It is this busy filing part of the brain that takes orders that we may not even be aware we have given, and puts together information to support them. This is why if we are considering buying something, or holidaying somewhere, we will suddenly notice that information, photos, and reviews about it seem to be everywhere. It is the librarian part of your brain rushing to help.

Beginning a Gratitude Practice is a way of putting this part of the brain to good use. By setting a particular time to write down, or to tell someone, about good things that have happened you are actively ordering the busy brain to keep a look out for good things as you go about your day.

You are programming the brain to focus on the good.

As is often the case when something is simple, there are various pieces of advice about how you should put together a gratitude practice. How many times a week, how many things to be grateful for, how to write it down, what time of day…

I actually don’t think it matters very much how you do it, just that you do it. You certainly don’t need to spend money on a special book.

There are, as I see it, only three rules:

  1. Make it regular so that the brain knows it is expected to be compiling the list of things to be grateful for.
  2. Get it out of your head – write it down, tell someone – as we used to – round the table, even record it as an audio file on your phone.
  3. Be descriptive. A generic ‘I’m grateful for my family’ type of list won’t work as well as ‘I’m grateful having time to watch how happy the puppy was, romping about with her new ball.’

Some people like to make a gratitude list in the morning to set them up for the day, I prefer early evening as my brain then is collating happy stuff all day, some find a daily list becomes a chore and do it weekly or even monthly.

The main thing is that in whatever for you do it, it works. Having a formal gratitude practice is the simplest, most effective, thing you can do to improve personal wellbeing.

Tags: life

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This weekend the valleys were full of mist - great screeds of it swelling up as the afternoon lengthened and the air cooled.⁠⠀
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This is a rescue horse who now lives a couple of fields down - if I happen to be passing his gate around 4, he is up  stretching his over it, looking for friendly scratches and food. ⁠⠀
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A perfect time keeper.
It doesn't take much . . . . ⁠⠀
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These stems were picked in the five minute walk from the house to the Studio.⁠⠀
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A teasel head, some rusty dock seeds, a bleached shell of columbine, bright rose hips.⁠⠀
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None looked very promising outside but indoors, tucked into test tubes, they look wonderful.⁠⠀
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As they would in bottles . . . .⁠⠀
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The rose hips are the last of the berries to go from the hedges - the birds strip everything else as soon as it gets cold, the elders and rowans first, then the haws.⁠⠀
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Inspired by their bright longevity I have ordered a small clutch of rosa moyesii 'Geranium' - with their spectacular bottle shaped hips - to make an informal hedge down by the airstream.⁠⠀
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My plan is to plant them amongst crab apples to keep back the dull green march of the Scots broom. ⁠⠀
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I have honeysuckle in mind too.⁠⠀
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This is the Studio - nestled into the dip of the valley, surrounded by wild meadow and trees.⁠⠀
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At this time of year it is a cosy den, the stove lit, the fabrics piled up around me.⁠⠀
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Today I am finishing off some large embroidered wool cushions and sending out lots of craft kits in the post.
This was taken last week when we had snow. You can see Dixie’s dachshund toy abandoned in a drift.
A winding path, a bare tree reaching up, blue sky above ribbons of mist, patches of scruffy frost in the rough grass.⁠⠀
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I have walked this road more days than not this year.⁠⠀
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It never gets old.
I said I wasn't going to make a wreath this year.⁠⠀
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But then I saw one @talenamaria made on behalf of @jamjarflowers for the @papier Instagram feed and I was smitten.  The glorious mess of the hedgerow encapsulated in a twiggy ring.⁠⠀
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The birch twigs from further down the grid were still in the hall  and I had some dried hydrangeas left over . . . .⁠⠀
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(I also say I never watch video tutorials as I get distracted too easily and find that they are often too long - but Talena's is good and short and easy to watch and follow.)
A snowy gate, photographed last week, snow piled up on rungs and branches.⁠ ⠀
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I loved how the field on the other side was completely untouched. ⠀
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A fresh sheet of paper. ⠀
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A new week. ⠀
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If you want to make a little wool tree like this one the step by step instructions are now on my website - www.snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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If you want it to look exactly like this one, you can also buy a kit with all the bits to make three trees ⁠⠀
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I first made these trees for a Country Living Fair in Glasgow back in the mid 2000s - raiding my button box for the decoration and dyeing old blankets for the wool. ⁠⠀
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Sometimes I still see the trees from that generation appear on people's Christmas windowsills and it makes me very happy.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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