Just over a year ago I was challenged by a friend to write in a gratitude journal for 30 days. I decided to take the challenge and now here I am over a year later and I still write every night. I quickly discovered why she recommended it and how much it could change my life.
Before I let you in on a huge secret and why this simple task can change your life let me give you an idea of what a gratitude journal is. The basic concept is to find something that happened in your day that you are thankful for. It can be just about anything. Then the hard part is to write it down and why you are grateful for it. I usually try to keep it simple and write just one page, but even one line is a good start.
When you first start you think “This is easy, there’s lots of things that I’m grateful for.” However after a day or two you begin to think “What can I write about today”, “I’ve already said everything that I’m grateful for.” That’s because we usually start out with all the big things like, our family, our health, our religion and so forth. After a few days you need to look deeper. Look for the little things that make life worth living.
Soon you’ll start to discover a whole new world out there that you never saw before. You will start to appreciate all of the little things that make things work. You will also find that when things are not going your way an item that you wrote about will pop into your head. Like the way someone made you smile or the cute thing that your child did. Suddenly, life doesn’t look so bad anymore and you can move on with your day.
I’ve really found the gratitude journal to help me when I’ve had an extremely bad day. I sit down at night and I hold the journal in my hands and I think. I think about everything that happened that day and I think until I find one simple little thing that made me happy or made me feel better. I look for just one little thing that went right. Then I start to write about it. I can’t believe how much better I feel afterwards. It’s like finding something to be grateful for opens your heart and helps you to heal.
Sometimes I find myself going throughout the day and thinking “I’m so grateful for that, I need to write about it tonight.” Or I will start looking for things during the day that I’m grateful for, so that I have something to write about. I find that when I’m looking for them more things just keep popping up and I’m flooded with good things in my life.
I usually write about almost everything, from my husband finally working on our remodel work, to the way my one year old can always make me smile. I even find that I might repeat a similar thing that I’m grateful for because my day was different and it just really stood out. It doesn’t really matter what you right about, just write about something.
One thing that I love is to look back and see some of the things I’ve written about. Someday I hope my kids will be able to read my journals and realize how much I appreciated them and what a difference they made in my life. Because it is a gratitude journal I’m usually talking about something positive, so when they look back they can see all the good things they did and not the bad.
This past year has been extremely difficult at times and I know personally that writing every night in my gratitude journal has really helped me to get through. I end each day on a positive note and I’m ready to start a new day each morning. I have a more positive attitude as I realize that I truly have many blessings in my life. There is a saying out there “Never go to bed mad.” When you sit down at night to write about something you are grateful for it’s really hard to go to bed mad.
Times are difficult for many right now and you may think that there is no way out or things can’t possibly get better. If you want to change how you view your life then I encourage you to start a gratitude journal today. A positive attitude and an attitude of gratitude somehow make life worth living. It may not change what is going on around you, but it will change your attitude and how you choose to deal with it.