I’ve heard about Oprah writing a gratitude journal and Elizabeth Gilbert writing everyday notes for her Happiness Jar years ago, I forgot exactly when. And I tried them both, the former using a regular-sized notebook and writing a narrative of the things I’m grateful for each day, the latter using a small jar I found in a cupboard one day. I even tried a Gratitude mobile phone app for a few days. Unfortunately all three of them didn’t quite work for me. I was quite disappointed that time and so I let it go for a while.
A few years after, I met this person through a Facebook page who pointed out to me one time that I have a tendency to complain. I thought about it for a while and then realized I do this all the time since high school. I then revisited the idea of a gratitude journal when I found a small red notebook which my mom-in-law gave me as Christmas gift in 2014 from my office table that I haven’t used yet. With many pens waiting on the desk for me to use, I set out writing my first entry in the New Year of 2016. The photo shown at the top is my first one. I am now on my second notebook.
I didn’t realize then how very powerful gratitude writing can be, and since then I continue writing few things I’m grateful for each day. And it has never failed to amaze me in so many ways.
1.) What may be usually ordinary and mundane to you and to other people, you are now feeling in awe or at least more aware of it.
Whenever I see a rainbow or interesting shapes or formations of clouds in the sky, I would take photos and choose the best ones for social media. Now I write them in the journal. Hugs and kisses may seem ordinary to some but I recorded each and every day my partner and I do them. I become more aware of my surroundings and what’s happening.
2.) You learn to focus on the present moment.
Many people advised for years to focus on the present moment but it wasn’t until I developed the habit of writing a gratitude journal that I am experiencing this now. My sense of awareness is more heightened now that instead of always being inside my own headspace, I now have the peace of mind to be able to observe well my surroundings.
3.) Gradually I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.
I used to get so upset even the pettiest of things but now I focus more on the positive side of situations. There are still times I would still complain because we are not perfect after all, but my mind quickly reverts back to seeking more positivity. It’s like all the negativity and emotional baggage of years ago are now gone.
4.) More “Thank You’s” have been uttered from my mouth.
Simple and quick prayers of gratitude I now do wherever I go. For my great health, peace of mind, overall happiness and wellbeing. I also now try to do my Thank You walking meditation a few times a month where when I take one step forward, I say “Thank” and another step forward say “you.” And repeat it as many times as I can while walking to the train station or anywhere.
5.) Smiling becomes easier.
Being focused inside my own head years ago, it wasn’t easy for me to smile. Now I can smile to anyone without expecting anything back. If they smile back, that’s fine. If not, that’s fine too. It is indeed easier to smile than to frown not only because of the number of facial muscles it takes to do, but also the feelings associated with them. Smiling is light, while frowning is heavy.
6.) With regular gratitude journal writing, more blessings will eventually come your way.
This is true. I have received more blessings as a result of daily gratitude writing. Work colleagues giving me food and things to use. More kindness and generosity from friends and family. Overall sense of peace, contentment, and wellbeing.
7.) It helps you realize what matters the most.
You get a much bigger picture of what are the most important things in life. That things are just things, it’s much preferable to collect experiences. That we all need to treat other people with kindness. That we need to love ourselves first so we have love to give to others.
Now as to how to create your own, if you are creative using your hands, you can make a journal from scratch and design it each day. But if not, don’t fret. So many notebooks of different types, sizes, and designs are available in stores and online, it’s just a matter of choosing a few that best fits the purpose. I prefer the small-sized ones as they are easy to carry inside my handbag and easier to write daily than the regular-sized ones. But that’s just me, you may have another preference.
As further proof of the power of gratitude for your overall wellbeing and happiness, here is a collection of verses about being thankful from Jarrid Wilson.
I hope this post has helped you in your own personal growth journey. Until next time, take care!