I'm not proud to admit it, but a couple years ago I took a hard look at myself and realized some not-so-nice things - I wasn't a very happy person. I was too often judgmental and jealous of others, and complaining was my number-one hobby. Why was I acting like this when I had so much to be thankful for? I had an incredible family; an amazing husband; a roof over my head; and a good job to go to every day. I needed to do something to get me out of this funk.
At the beginning of 2015, I started keeping a gratitude journal. I journaled a lot through my teen and college years, but this is different and has more focus. In this journal, I write down things I am thankful for. Usually I just write a sentence or two, but occasionally the entries are longer. Sometimes they are serious, sometimes they are more mundane or even silly:
- A phone call in the middle of the day from my husband just saying "I love you"
- A good prognosis for a loved one after a health scare
- A new book by one of my favorite authors
- A sunny day after a string of rainy ones
I don't write in it everyday, more like a couple times a week. I write in it when I'm really happy about something, but those times when I seem to be in a negative headspace are also a good time for me write, to focus on something positive instead. In November, I try to log an entry for each day of the month; this past year I used a prompt from Text My Journal to guide me:
I don't see my gratitude journal as a way of ignoring or brushing off real problems I may have. It helps me focus on the good things in my life and to stop worrying about things I don't have or can't control. I find that keeping the journal has changed my way of thinking and improved my attitude. It's taught me not to take little (and sometimes big!) things for granted. I feel happier and more positive, and petty issues don't seem to bother me as much as they used to. I think (I hope!) my family has also seen a change in me. Reading back through the entries is a great reminder of all the amazing people, moments, and things in my life.
Have you ever kept a gratitude journal? What are you grateful for this new year?