More than a year ago I began a gratitude journal. Every night before I go to bed, I write down ten things that I am grateful for that happened that day. Not things that I’m overall thankful for or things that I think might happen in the future, but things I am or have been grateful for in the past 24 hours.
When I started this journal it was a bit of an experiment. I had heard that grateful people were happy people and at that point in my journey, I wasn’t a very happy person. In fact, I think you could say I was an angry, sad, messed up and frustrated person more than a happy person.
So I thought I would give it a try. It couldn’t hurt me; to look for the good in my day rather than the bad. And to reflect on the good things that happened each day and be able to write them down couldn’t hurt either.
So armed with a notebook and a pen, I started. Some days it was tough to think of ten things. Three maybe. And some days even three were a struggle. ‘Why did I start with ten?’, I thought to myself. But I persevered.
And am I glad I did.
First off, I haven’t missed a day in more than 18 months so looking back through the notebooks (yep, plural as I’m on number 3 and counting) I can see what a rich, amazing life I have.
Secondly, as I live each day, I now notice moments differently and consciously think, ‘I need to add this to my gratitude journal tonight’ which makes me pay more attention as I go through my day.
Thirdly, even when I’m having a not so great day, I know I am blessed. In more than 18 months, I’ve always been able to find at least ten things to be grateful for – even if they are small things or everyday things like being able to pay my rent. In the early days I was even grateful if I hadn’t cried that day.
And as I look through the diaries I am struck by how often various peoples’ names jump out at me. Somehow the Universe always knows when I need to talk to a specific person and makes that happen and for that, I’m truly grateful.
So has the experiment been a success? I’d have to say resoundingly, yes.
I’m not saying that I’m happy all of the time. That’s not realistic. But I am happier noticing how blessed I am.
One of the things I am grateful for today is that I have this blog as a creative outlet and that people are reading it. Some people have told me how much they love it or how much certain posts have resonated with them and I love hearing that. Some have shared it through their social media channels too. Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing my journey with me. I am grateful for you.