Today’s challenge was to start a gratitude journal. What’s a gratitude journal you might ask. Well, a gratitude journal is a journal where you record things that you are thankful for. Or even a place where you only write the happy things down. It seems that when people start a journal it’s a place we go to vent. Is that just me? I recently found some old journals of mine and was excited to flip through them and see what 16 year old Jess was like. How was she different from 18-year-old Jess? What about 23-year-old Jess? Well…based on my journals…Jess was a mess. Here was what could have been amazing documentation from my life and instead it was mostly filled with angst (16-year-old me), rebellion (18-year-old me), and struggle (23-year-old me).
Of course, looking back at those times in my life, I probably needed a safe place to vent. It was a place where I could put my innermost secretive thoughts down so I could better sort them. My journals were a place free of judgement at times in my life when I really just needed to discover myself and my true feelings. I’ve been through quite a bit of negative crap in my life (and no that’s not 18-year-old angsty Jess speaking) so having that safe place was a good thing. But one thing I probably took for granted was all the good things in my life. Or maybe I didn’t really take it for granted but I definitely had a hard time always looking at the positives. That is something I got better at over time.
And now here we are, 32-year-old Jess is sitting down with a journal in front of her. But not to record day-to-day complaints, or vent about that neighbor who does that one super annoying thing, or that lady at the grocery store who gave the stink eye. Instead, this journal will be filled with positivity. I will take time each day to find minimally 3 things that I am thankful for or that made me happy. I have a rule in place for “F” who struggles with saying negative things about herself, negative self-talk or “self limiting beliefs” if you will. For every negative thing she says, she is to say 3 positive things. And I would say maybe 75% of the time by the last positive thing she is feeling better about whatever was getting her down. It’s a practice that I think most of us could benefit from. Having a bad day? Name 3 things that made you smile. If that’s a stretch, how about 3 things that didn’t totally suck.
I am excited to see how having this gratitude journal will affect my happiness going forward, especially on those days when it feels like “nothing is going my way”. We all have those days. But it will also be neat to look back once this journal is full and see just how committed I was to finding the positives and also be able to read about all the wonderful things in my life.
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
Also before I sign off for the night, let me say Thank You to my readers. I have always had an intense desire to write and knowing that my words are being appreciated, that my voice is being heard…well..I don’t have the words to express just how much is means to me. So thank you, from the bottom of heart.