Gratitude is a word that seems to be thrown around a lot at the moment. Or perhaps it is just because I am aware of it, I see it everywhere (I do love those “when you buy a new dress everyone is wearing it” moments). I particularly love this video by Marie Forleo (Beware – practicing gratitude is DANGEROUS!) and the regular “Dear life” tweets from Danielle La Porte.
One of my new experiences for 2013 was to write a gratitude journal for a month.
I am now 2 months in, and have no plans to stop.
For the past 66 nights I have written in my little red book what I am grateful for before I turn off the lights and go to sleep. I have done this without fail, no matter how late, how much alcohol has been consumed or how crappy I feel. And that is quite a feat for me!
Every night I have written at least three things, under the words “Today I am grateful for:”
I personally believe there is something quite powerful about actually writing “Today I am grateful for” each day, under the date (which I always underline!). By actually stating that is clearly what the list below relates to, I get the feeling that there is more power in what I write.
The gratitude has been about small things (clean sheets), big things (financial stability), friends (the health of sick friends), family (time laughing with my nieces and nephews), my darling partner (time spent together) and me (the skills I am able to pass onto others).
My partner and I are always people who acknowledge our good fortune. When we are walking back home after a lovely evening out, or exploring a new part of the world we often declare “We are fortunate to be here” or “I am grateful we have the chance to experience this.” I always have known it helped me be in a good space and to really acknowledge the present and all that was and is happening for me. However, the daily practice of writing what I am grateful for is much more powerful than I ever thought.
The benefits have been:
- Greater clarity on what is important to me. There are definite themes in my gratitude list and these are my values coming through strong and clear. Connection, people, outdoors, food, health, fun, experiences.
- A true appreciation of all the amazing experiences, people, activities and general life tasks that I get to be a part of each and every day.
- Being much more aware and open of things that happen each day. Small things I may have let pass me by without even a blink I now file in the “grateful” file. They may not make the list at the end of the evening but in that moment they have had an impact on me and I acknowledge them for that.
- As this is the last thing I do every night, I go to sleep with a clear head, a happy heart, a smile on my face and a true appreciation of how fortunate I really am.
- Everything we experience is a choice as to whether we want to keep it or let it go. The gratitude allows me to acknowledge it and let it go. The things that don’t make the list are just let go and not focused on, as there are much better things to focus on and be grateful for.
- Knowing that even on the crappiest, energy sapping and miserable days there is so much we can be grateful for. This means that the crappy days aren’t as crappy as perhaps I once allowed them to be.
So what would it take for you to commit to write a gratitude journal for a month? I would love to hear how you find it if you make the commitment to do it.