May 14, 2016 at 12:00 am
It’s easy to come up with things in life for which you are grateful when everything is going okay. When you’re experiencing equilibrium and homeostasis, thoughts of blessings just bubble up and practically write themselves into your gratitude journal. But what about those times when your pain level is inching ever closer to the top of the 1-10 scale, or it just seems like everything in your life is falling apart?
Do you feel better physically when you acknowledge those things for which you are grateful? Does being thankful have an impact on your sense of well-being?
#gratitude #gratitudejournal #wellbeing #blessings #grateful #thankful
May 14, 2016 at 12:03 am
I keep a gratitude journal, and I try not to let a morning go by without the intention of making at least three entries. Sometimes this is especially difficult because I’ve set the bar at making every entry unique. I’ve had days when I have felt so bad that I have only written the most obvious things to be appreciative of like
1. having a home
2. having food
3. being alive
When I made entries like this I felt like it was more of an “un-gratitude” journal – I was ungrateful, because this is all I could come up with. So one day when I was feeling relatively positive I made a list of jumping-off points and placed it in the front of the journal. I can always look there if I am having a bad day and not able to spontaneously create entries. This ensures that my gratitude entries spring from a positive place; I do not want to form them by looking at others’ misfortunes in the “there but for the grace of God, go I” mindset.
I found that the objects of my gratitude didn’t have to be pious or somber – I could even use my favorite things as a point of departure. If you love artisanal chocolates, you can be thankful that you have an olfactory system and palate that are sensitive enough to discern quality, that some Indians in the Amazon or Honduras* discovered the cacao bean, that the chocolatier is skilled enough to create these culinary masterpieces, and that you live in a country where it is possible for you to afford to partake of this luxury (even if it is only a single $6.00 truffle once or twice a year).
As my journaling has matured through repetition and experience, I have found that my entries are not always focused on myself. When I am devoid of grateful thoughts for myself, I will think of someone else and I’m thankful for them and whatever good things are in their life. Getting outside myself and waxing grateful on behalf of someone else can be positively therapeutic. And it makes me feel good, inside and out.
When I have done this, sometimes I have felt that I have reached another level, that I am evolving and on a positive trajectory. Then because of some event outside of my control, I will find myself struggling again to find a new or unique gratitude and I am back to “having a home, having food, being alive”. Like everything in life, journaling my gratitude thoughts is cyclical. But if you were to graph them, I bet you would find that the overall trend is up. And that is definitely something to be grateful for!
*I am not a chocolate connoisseur or cacao historian, so I just made this up while I was writing – but then I looked it up afterwards and it was really the Mayans in the Yucatan Peninsula.
#gratitudejournal #excavatinggratitude #artisanalchocolate #mayansdiscoveredcacao
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