I wrote here about how keeping a gratitude journal has helped me on my own journey towards healing and I thought some of you might like a bit more information regarding the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of gratitude journalling.
My own gratitude journal isn’t pretty (as you can see in the photo above!). It’s functional. It’s small. Small enough to sit on the table at the side of the settee where I usually sit at the end of the evening, silently reflecting on what sort of day I’ve had, what things could have been better, what things I could have done differently, how I could make improvements tomorrow/in the future and – last but certainly not least – what things I’m thankful for. I limit myself to five each day and I write them, on their own page, in my gratitude journal. At the end of the page, I write my ‘one best thing’ about my day.
As I sit, for these five or ten minutes, I take the time to reflect deeply about my life, where I am, where we are, and how we’re doing. I have nights where I don’t think I’ll stop crying and nights where I chuckle to myself. I’ve had nights where I’ve laughed so hard, I’ve woken up the littles and they’ve come scurrying out of bed to see where all the hilarity is. I’ve come to learn, on these solitary, silent, nights that being grateful is the key to a happy, contented, life.
As I always write on the cover of my gratitude journals, “Being grateful turns what you have in to enough“, which is part of a quote from Melody Beattie, which reads:
When I read that quote online, it hit me as an extremely powerful and empowering tool for dealing with life. Whatever life throws at us, however we’re feeling. Unless we learn to stop and recognise that what we have, in each of our moments, is amazing, that we’re amazing, that life itself is a miracle, an amazing miracle, life – our lives – pass us by in a blur. We lose sight of what makes life beautiful by not recognising it’s beauty and not marvelling at the miracle it is.
By taking five minutes at the end of each day, to give thanks, to recognise all the things I’m grateful for, I’ve come to appreciate the profound beauty of life. The profound beauty that can come in any moment, at any time. By being grateful, we tune ourselves to recognise these moments of profound beauty when they’re presented to us, and we begin to live with a heart that sings because we realise we’re surrounded by beauty, by a million things we should give thanks for.
I think that’s pretty cool.
I’ve noticed some brilliant blogs/posts about how others incorporate gratitude in their daily lives:
– I’m an avid follower of Laura Lynn’s blog here where she notes “Five things, every day: an exercise in cultivating and propagating gratitude”. Her posts are always so very thoughtful and so beautifully written, they always inspire me in my own journey towards a more grateful, gracious, appreciative, life.
– Ali Edwards has a post here about Practicing Gratitude in the Middle of the Mess. She writes, in that post, “…photography is a big piece of (my) personal gratitude practice”. I know that I, myself, feel much more alive when I’m taking photos because I’m much more aware of the beauty around me, of the life I want to capture. Taking photos makes me that much more grateful and thankful that I am alive and that much more in awe of the beauty around me.
– This one from Light, Love, Hope: such a beautiful post with so many important truths (that are, unfortunately, all too easy to forget in the midst of the busy-ness of life).
– This post from Tiny Buddha – tips on how to keep a gratitude journal.
– Love Oprah’s take on gratitude journalling (had to chuckle to myself that she listed ‘Maya Angelou calling to read me a new poem’ as one of her 5 things on October 12th 1996!).
And take a look at this post about the many health benefits of gratitude: a really good overview of all the health benefits that can come from maintaining an ‘attitude of gratitude’. As the article notes, “Gratitude is no cure-all but it’s a massively under-utilised tool for improving life satisfaction and happiness”. The graphic below summarises the main points from the post:
My recommendation? Give it a go for two weeks. Keep a gratitude journal for two weeks. Even if you feel fairly happy and fairly contented already. Even if you think you don’t have five minutes to do it (especially if you don’t think you have five minutes to do it!). I guarantee, after a few weeks, you’ll be amazed at how many benefits, and insights, it brings you.
I’d love to hear your gratitude journalling experiences: do leave me a note in the comments! Remember: