I hope that all of you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I loved the chance to reflect on all of my wonderful blessings. It filled me and lifted me.
How quickly, however, the feeling of gratitude can so easily be replaced by the “Holiday Rush” and the gimme, gimme of Christmas. Today I wanted to share an idea that was shared with me a few years ago to help me and my family keep the feeling of gratitude in our hearts all year long. It’s a gratitude journal.
Here’s how it works. Buy a journal and keep it on your bedstand. Each morning as you get out of bed, write down at least 5 things you are grateful for. If things come to mind during the day, add them to your list. As you go to bed, list 5 more things you were specifically grateful for that day. Every day, you should have at least 10 things written.
At first, it will be easy, but after you write the most obvious blessings (family, friends, shelter, food, etc.), you’ll find that 2 things happen. You have to take the time to think. And when you do, you’ll feel a feeling of gratitude for things you’ve hardly even noticed before. Second, you’ll start being grateful for things you never thought you’d say “thank you” for (the trials, the growth you’ve experienced through hardship, the “aha moment” you had in the midst of confusion, etc.). You’ll see life through a whole different lens.
At first, you won’t see much happen, but as the days and weeks pass, a subtle yet obvious change will come about in you. You’ll feel more joy because recognizing our blessings brings happiness. You’ll spend less time focusing on what’s not working in your life and more time seeing your challenges as opportunities. You’ll feel lifted and filled. Don’t believe me? Try it. There’s something about gratitude that naturally changes and lifts us.
Take it one step further and challenge your kids and family to do it too. If they can write, give them a journal and help them start the habit. If not, have them verbalize 5 things to you each morning and night. You’ll see a difference in your whole family.
Better yet, start a family gratitude journal. Leave it on the counter where everyone has easy access to it and invite family members to add to it whenever they’d like. It’s inspiring to see what each member is grateful for, especially if it happens to be you!
So, have a wonderful Holiday season full of family, fun, happiness, and most of all gratitude!