I’ve had a practice for almost 2 years of keeping a daily “journal”. It’s not as fancy as it sounds, nor is it complicated or show my amazing will power. It’s a simple jot-down of the day’s basic events, anything specific I want to remember that my husband or family did, and often includes whatever health issues ailed me (“had a headache today… need to drink more water”).
I also included a section at the end where I “track” certain things, like the weather. With all this, the very last piece to my daily practice is to jot down what I’m grateful for.
Now, this sounds nice while I’m writing about it, but I can tell you that after many, many journal entries that there are days where this is certainly not “nice”. Sometimes I have a crappy day, and the last thing I want to end it with is why I’m blessed. It feels fake at first, but I’ve noticed a weird phenomenon happening to me each night. On bad days, when I see the section of my journal I title “Gratitude”, my brows seem to un-crease themselves, my breathing typically brings a sigh, and I start to mentally rise above all the petty junk of my day. Often my Gratitude section will be a sentence or less, but it’ll say “that my husband is healthy” or “that my daughters have enough to eat”.
It doesn’t always make a terrible day into a great one, but it does- without exception- bring me back to the reality that no matter what is “going on” that day, I have something I can be grateful for.
So this Thanksgiving, if you’re up for it, consider starting a gratitude journal of your own! A sentence or a note every day- morning or night- where you take a breath, look around, and recognize what amazing things you already have in your life. As this is the season of Thanks, it might be the best time of year to carry gratitude for the next 11 months!