the quality of being thankful;
readiness to show appreciation for and
to return kindness….
I have been a journaler for most of my life. But in the last few years, I added another practice to my journaling routine, gratitude journaling. It doesn’t take long at all, just a few minutes before bed every night. I made it a goal to write down 3 things I was grateful for every night, but I quickly learned that gratitude breeds gratitude. What started out as something I was “making” myself do became something I looked forward to doing, and 3 grew to 5 and sometimes even more. This doesn’t mean that some days coming up with just one thing to be grateful for isn’t a stretch. But an attitude of gratitude goes a long way in changing the way we see things. When we take time to notice the small everyday things in our lives, we begin to celebrate the beautiful life we are creating. There are so many benefits to living a life of gratitude, improved relationships, better physical health, improved psychological health, increased empathy, reduced aggression, stronger self-esteem, better sleep, and increased mental strength. And gratitude journaling isn’t the only way you can get more gratitude in your life, there are numerous other ways. Pick a particular person in your life each week and seek out ways to show them your appreciation. Find ways to involve your family in your new mindset, challenge them to begin their own journey of developing an attitude of gratitude. Make it part of some task you are already doing on a daily basis, like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes. While we are doing those things that we do on auto-pilot every day, we can take that time to reflect on the many blessings we take for granted every day. Take the time to write a letter to someone from your past that has encouraged you or played an important part in your life. Even when bad things happen in your life, try to find the good in the situation….be the person known for specializing in silver linings! But remember, habits are hard to break, so when you let that negative mindset creep back in, show your self some grace and compassion. Then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and challenge yourself to once again find the beauty in the ordinary!!