It probably won’t come as a surprise that the month which contains Thanksgiving is also known as National Gratitude Month.  It’s a perfect time to reflectA woman with her hands pressed together and bowing her head and give thanks.  Gratitude can be expressed in a multitude of ways. A simple ‘thank you’ of appreciation, by a card sent in the mail, by a phone call, a donation, or a little gift.

But, sometimes it can be a challenge to feel grateful, when things are tough or when you are noticing the grocery prices going up and up!  In difficult times, or when I just need to feel a little more grounded, I use a Gratitude Journal.

How it Works

At the end of every day, I take out my journal and write three things I’m grateful for.  Sometimes the things are very simple and mundane, like how good my tea tasted that morning, or that my cat sat with me for a while, or that I’m grateful for my cozy sweater on a chilly night.

Sometimes they are more involved, like feeling connected after a good visit with an old friend, or that I’m happy to have indoor plumbing!  There have been times in my life that it has been a real challenge to come up with something, but it’s okay if I repeat from one day to the next.  In those times, my entries often express gratefulness for the sun coming up, for the feeling of air on my face, or for a bed to sleep in.

A teal journal with the words "Gratitude Journal" on it.

The Journal

A Gratitude Journal doesn’t have to be fancy, although it can be!  Some people go out and buy a special journal with a cover that resonates with them – others use whatever they have for paper, or write it on their computer.  I have a friend who uses the margins of her daily crossword book for her journal; I have a plain little notebook that I use for mine.

The Results

After a few days of writing, something magical starts to happen… I find myself looking throughout the day for the things to include in my journal, focusing on the positive.  Through this simple process, I begin to train myself to look for the good in each day.

In the book “Resilient” by Rick Hanson Ph.D., he writes “Thankfulness is not about minimizing or denying hassles, illness, loss or injustice.  It is simply about appreciating what is also true.”  If you decide to try a Gratitude Journal, let us know what you think!

 

For more information about Gratitude Journals:

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