Gratitude or Causal everyday magic

Today’s blog is about finding things to be grateful for, whatever situation we find ourselves in. It has been expertly written by Phoebe Crook, Assistant Psychologist at Headspace Guildford.

Following on from last week’s blog post about looking after yourself, I wanted to focus on casual everyday magic. I cannot remember exactly where I came across the term casual everyday magic, but it follows the basic principles of gratitude, which encourages you to reflect on what you are grateful for. I appreciate that gratitude is hard, and people often think it is cringey. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say you should sit in front of a mirror and repeat self-affirmations about how great you are and how worthy you are (although if you want to do that then I would encourage it as it is pretty helpful). But instead I am going to talk you through casual everyday magic. It is a pretty self-explanatory skill, but I think it is important that I share this given the current circumstances where people are feeling sad, anxiety and helpless about the present situation and about the future.

So, casual everyday magic focuses on the simple everyday activities or events that have caused you to smile or laugh or simply made you appreciate your life. In this sense, it is basically gratitude as you are appreciating and reflecting on things in your life. Now you might think that there isn’t really much you could have gratitude for at present, apart from the obvious of being healthy and safe (both of which are important, so do remind yourself of that!). Casual everyday magic goes one step further than just health, safety, and money. For example, I was on my daily walk today and I saw some pretty flowers and I could hear the birds singing in the background. This may seem like a small and insignificant thing, but the mindset of casual everyday magic is to appreciate that experience. Simply, the flowers made me feel happy and made me grateful that I live somewhere where I can access nature. Another example was yesterday on my walk I saw a couple of Collie’s and quite a few cats in gardens. Whilst I personally do not have any pets, both my parents and my boyfriend’s parents have pets and seeing these animals on my walk reminded me of those pets and reminded me of all the happy times I have had with them and all the happy times I will have with those pets once this virus is over. My final example is that casual magic can come from situations that do not go to plan. For example, I tried to make some cookies the other day and I burnt them, and they did not taste very good. Easily I could have thought I had failed but I had enjoyed making them and my disaster in the kitchen resulted in both myself and my boyfriend laughing and joking lots about how rock solid they were. So, my cookie making turned into my daily causal magic as it made me laugh and smile.

Hopefully, these examples can help you in finding your own casual daily magic. Small little things, such as seeing nature, or your child tidying up their mess or receiving a phone call from a loved one, all count. There is no set list as to what qualifies, it is up to you and how you interpret the situation. Casual everyday magic might seem like a bizarre concept, but I encourage you to try it. Try and involve your children as well, it is an easy one for them to become involved in it, for example, they might complete their home schoolwork that they have found difficult, or they might see a butterfly in the garden, both of which can be casual magic and elicit good feelings. In this unsettling time, it is important to focus on things in your everyday life that are going well and for you to remind yourself that there are positive things happening everyday in your lockdown life. It might take some time to notice and acknowledge these positive things but shifting your mindset to spot casual magical moments that are occurring will help you feel less bogged down by the bad news of the outside world. You might find it helpful to write down your casual daily magic and to encourage your children to do the same. This way you will have a physical reminder that there are good things happening and when looking back at lockdown in the future you will see that not everything was doom and gloom.

Here are some helpful starting sentences to help you and your children in capturing daily magic.

  • Today I noticed…. This made me feel…..
  • I saw ………….. today…… and this made me grateful for…….
  • I completed this …… It made me feel ………
  • I might not be able to see my family at the moment but seeing …….. made me appreciate the times that I have spent with them and the times I will get to spend with them in the future….

Give it a go and let me know how you get along!

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