I do this thing with Grace every night. I didn’t think anything of it really, but a couple of my Mummy friends I’ve mentioned it to have said they think it’s a lovely idea, and they do it too now. So I thought I’d share it.
I can’t remember when I started doing it, but I remember why. You see, I went through a phase of reading self-help books during a low point in my mid-twenties. For the most part – they didn’t really help. However – there was one piece of advice that for some reason stuck with me. I can’t remember the book, or the exact method it recommended, but it was to do with writing down anything positive from your day before you go to bed.
Even if you’ve had the shittiest day in history, have been stressed to buggery, or it’s been mundane as hell, you can always dig deep to find something:
- I’ve had a good chat with my friend this morning.
- I cried and felt better for it.
- I got to read a few chapters of a good book.
I have since found out that writing down positive thoughts, and/or reasons to be grateful is quite a commonly recommended psychological practice, and has been found to be very effective in improving mood and encouraging happiness. (I could launch into the science and research behind it all at this point – but nah. I’ll keep it short and sweet I think.)
So for a while, I did this excercise religiously, and I’m sure it went some way into instilling a little positivity again. Nowadays I don’t bother for myself, but I do my own little version with Grace every night. We read our bedtime story and cuddle together. I ask her to think of three nice things about her day. Before she was as verbal, I’d tell her three nice things about her day. Now I can ask – prompt if need be – and it’s lovely.
Even after a nightmare day from hell when she’s been a little madam and I’m at my wit’s end, we always think of something. Tonight, she volunteered the following:
- My play with Poppy.
- My seen Grandma and Grandad.
- My throw TEN sticks in the puddle with Mummy.
She then re-played the stick throwing – counting to ten and laughing to herself.
I’m no psychology expert. I’m definitely no parenting expert. But I love this habit we’ve developed of ending every day with nice thoughts. I suppose that deep down, I’m hoping it’ll kind of help her develop a happy mind-set. If she can learn to find the good in even the not-so-good days, then surely that’s a positive thing?