“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” — Marianne Williamson
For years, on and off, I’ve kept a gratitude journal. Pretty simple really. You get a notebook, and once a day–usually before you go to bed–you write down at least five things for which you feel grateful. You do this because the simple fact of recording what is actually good and working in your life, things you can appreciate, makes you feel better about your life. It makes you realize you have many things each day for which to feel grateful.
These things don’t have to be huge. They can be small. They can be ordinary. They can be extraordinary. You just need to find something good in your day you can appreciate.
I start my journal entries with the words “Something I’m grateful for is…” or “I am grateful for…” and then I list five or more things that pop into me head, like:
- finding time to exercise
- getting home safely from San Francisco
- gaining a new coaching client
- selling another 55 books this past week
- my husband
- my husband’s job
- the plum tree
- the plums on the plum tree
- getting invited to a party
- sleeping late
- my health
- my son being home for a week
- my chiropractor
- the great weather in California
- being able to work on my deck
- having the money to pay my bills
- my friend, Karen
- my children
- my blog readers
- not being too tired to read in bed tonight
It’s so easy to slip into focusing on how bad things are–or how bad we think they are. In fact, more often than not they aren’t quite as bad as we think. They might even be pretty good. They might be better if we focus on the good things in our lives and feel some appreciation, some gratitude.
I think this is one reason Jews are supposed to say 100 blessings a day. When you constantly thank good for the things you have, it’s hard to stay stuck in negativity. (I’ve written about saying blessings before.)
I encourage you to try doing this for a week or two. Take a diet from focusing on the bad. Focus only on the good. See what happens. Let me know if you begin realizing how good things really are. Leave a comment.