Gratitude. It’s something we tend to take for granted. Maybe because it’s easier to complain and find the negative side of things. But feeling and expressing gratitude is good for our health. A few months ago, the health website I use posted an article about things to do in the evening to prepare for the next day. One thing mentioned was a gratitude journal. Since this was about the third article I had read about keeping a gratitude journal, I took the hint and decided it was worth a shot. I wasn’t prepared for what I would learn.
The idea is simple. Make a list of three items you’re thankful for. Some days, it’s not as easy as you might think. There are those brain-dead days when wires don’t connect. In fact, I’ve skipped a day or two here and there. Okay, maybe a few days at a time. Alright, even a week has gone by with no entries. What can I say? I’m never consistent with anything. But here are a few things I’ve learned.
- Throughout the day, I pay attention to things I can record in the journal.
- It’s easier to turn a negative into a positive when I’m paying attention. For example: one day I entered, “Quiet days in the office when I can really get things done.” I believe that particular day was not one of those days. However, I noticed something I am grateful for when it happens.
- It can be anything. Something minor like “donuts” to something big like, “friends who have my back.” I even have an entry that says, “Gourmet popcorn. Enough said.” After all, it’s the little things in life!
- I’m more content with how things are rather than wishing they were different. (Alright, this happens more when I’m consistent with entries.)
- It gives a more positive view of life and the world.
- I even took a negative experience and turned it into a grateful point. (I was so good at this one, even I can’t figure out which entry it was.)
- It can be on any subject: spiritual, health, relationships, or even something silly, like a favorite TV show.
- Occasionally, there are things I’m doubly grateful for since they’ve been entered more than once. Like “Hallmark movies” and “walking friends.” And that’s okay.
Every gratitude journal doesn’t have to look the same. It can be wordy, a paragraph, a page, or short sentences. Entries can be general or specific. Many of my entries are so vague, I couldn’t say what caused me to be thankful for them. Then there are days when one grateful item stands out above the rest.
This is one of those days. With today being Memorial Day, 100% of my gratitude is for those who have served and sacrificed to fight for and protect our country. I think about and am thankful for those in my family line who fought or served in the wars throughout our country’s history, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. While none of them lost their lives while serving, they all sacrificed something to do what they did. And I honor them for it.
Have you ever created a gratitude journal? What things are you thankful for?