In late 2014, I started keeping a gratitude journal. I have an appointment on my calendar every weekday at 12:30 pm to remind me to do this. I try to take a few minutes, usually while eating lunch, to journal things I’m grateful for that day. I do this by emailing myself with the subject line “gratitude” and saving them into a folder. In 2015 I had a total of 115 entries. Here are the most frequently used words in those entries, in the form of a word cloud.
I’ve read several books which encouraged the practice of gratitude journaling, but it was Oprah Winfrey’s 2014 book “What I Know For Sure”, which convinced me. I think her words say it best.
“Sometimes we get so focused on the difficulty of our climb that we lose sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb. I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your whole world. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you are aware of all you have and not focusing on your have nots. It isn’t easy, but it’s when you feel least thankful when you are most in need of what gratitude can give you — Perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It is the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life. This I know for sure. Here’s the gift of gratitude. In order to feel it, your ego has to take a back seat. What shows up in its place is greater compassion and understanding. Instead of being frustrated, you choose appreciation. And the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for.”
If I could hope for any one thing for my daughters, it’s that they will someday choose to set aside time on a regular basis to acknowledge the things they’re grateful for. The hope of that literally brings a tear to my eye. I know that this practice has helped me appreciate life more in the present moment, and helps shift my thinking towards possibilities and opportunities in the future.