First off, I forgot to write and post this blog yesterday, ooops! I am grateful I remembered. Since gratitude is the topic this month, I would like to talk about gratitude journaling. I have been journaling in this manner off and on over the years, if I’m honest mostly off. I was getting caught up in the mundane everyday stuff, the hard stuff of life, and I just couldn’t muster up the feeling of gratitude. I felt like if things weren’t going perfectly, if things were hard, then what did I have to be thankful for? Well let’s face it perfect is a myth, and life is full of hard things.
The truth of the matter is that life is a gift, and this world is full of daily gifts just for us. Sometimes the gifts are harder to see. I started off with a goal of finding three things each day to be thankful for. I started to pay attention to my reaction to everyday things. My first day, I was driving and stopped next to a bus. I looked over and saw the bus driver with a big smile on her face, singing at the top of her lungs. It made me smile and her joy was contagious. While grocery shopping I saw a little old man picking out flowers. I smiled at him and he told me he was getting flowers for his wife, just because. I came home and my four-year-old came running up to me, gave me a big hug, and said, “I missed you momma.” There were my three things to write in my journal. The days that I chose to see the gifts make a huge difference in my attitude. I find that I am calmer, happier, and more available for my family. Here is what my journaling looks like.
Happy bus driver, old man buying flowers for his wife, four-year-old welcome homes, sunlight reflecting on water, first rose of spring.
Simple right? What about the hard days?
Pain reliever for migraines, the chance to rest, bedtime when this day will be over, a fresh start tomorrow, hubby who brought dinner home, kids to kiss good night, we survived this day without doing any physical or emotional damage to each other.
This practice has helped me so much that I have started making specific journals for my kids, each night I write the 3 things from my interactions with my kids that I am grateful for. I also have one for my hubby. These are written more like a letter or diary entry. Once I fill them up I plan to give them to my kids and hubby as gifts.
I have also started to help my kids with this. When we are out in nature and we are grateful for say, the sunset. We pick up a rock or leave or whatever catches their attention. We bring it home and put the item in our thankful jar. I have plans of expanding this to a dinner activity. I would like to ask the boys each night at dinner what they are thankful for that day. I would like to write it down with the date and a name, and somehow display them, or put them into a jar.