Abuse, Alcoholism, Creativity, Gratitude, Healing, Writing

The Grateful Journal

“I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace. I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together, and exalt His name.” Psalms 34:1-3

I’m not sure when I actually started keeping a grateful journal. Or where I learned about it in the first place. I do remember sharing with my therapist years’ ago that I had started one and she was enthused about it. But, while I would like to give credit where it is due, and use this moment to give thanks to that source, the best I can do is give thanks to the Source who led me to it. It has truly been a blessing in my life.

What is a grateful journal? Or thankful journal, as some may refer to it? It is a journal where you make a conscious effort everyday to write down a certain number of things that you are grateful for. Mine is a simple notebook of college-ruled paper; it doesn’t have to be fancy, just a place to record your entries. I typically keep mine on the nightstand by my bed and write down 5 things that I am grateful for from that day before I go to sleep. I remember when I started, I only wrote 3 things each night. Then one Lenten season, I upped it to 10; I’ve since settled on 5. The benefits of this exercise is that you start to look at your life a lot differently. Instead of your cup being half-empty, it is now half-full. I never realized how much I complained or entertained negative thoughts until I started this journal. And, if you battle depression as I often do, making an effort to count 5 blessings each day (or whatever the number), is a great way to lift yourself out of that depressed feeling. And talk about giving yourself a boost of confidence!

Don’t think you have enough for which to be grateful? I started listing family members, then friends, and pets. I even included those who have departed this earth, expressing gratitude for the time I did have with them. Once started, I began to see the times we shared, the lessons taught/learned, and even some of the myriad quirks they each possess, and suddenly, I had a treasure trove to account. And it doesn’t have to be a litany of every epiphany or Wow! moment. The mundane is just as good. I have several entries where I have expressed gratitude for popcorn. Sound silly? But I have popcorn to enjoy. That’s something to be grateful for. I have even expressed gratitude for some of the not-so-happy times in my life–like illnesses, injuries, heartaches. All of these have the potential to become opportunities for growth and understanding. It is all about perspective. And that slowly changes when you search daily for things to be thankful for.

As we approach this Thanksgiving season, I am going to share a few of the things I have in my journal:

2/5/2016 “I am grateful for the extra 4 hours of work this week”
3/2/2016 “I am grateful for strawberry banana almond butter smoothies”
3/6/2016 “I am grateful for the story I wrote today”
3/29/2016 “I am grateful for the trip to Maine to look forward to”
4/30/2016 “I am grateful they had the border collies at the CT Sheep & Wool Festival this year”
5/26/2016 “I am grateful for Farnoosh and Smart Exit Blueprint”
5/31/2016 “I am grateful Mom has this holiday with Shaun, Stefanie and the girls”
6/18/2016 “I am grateful for books”
6/19/2016 “I am grateful for healthy food”
7/2/2016 “I am grateful for the blueberry bush, rhubarb and cucumber plants I purchased yesterday”
7/4/2016 “I am grateful the blackberries are ripening”
8/28/2016 “I am grateful for the relaxing place that painting takes me to”
8/31/2016 “I am grateful for Smart Exit Blueprint”
9/3/2016 “I am grateful for the day spent at Uncle Ernie’s house”
9/3/2016 “I am grateful for the ride on the pontoon boat”
9/4/2016, 9/6/2016, 9/8/2016 “I am grateful for cool breezes” (must’ve been hot the week before…LOL!)
9/14/2016 “I am grateful for help trimming goat hooves”
10/8/2016 “I am grateful for the safe trip to and from Salem”
11/9/2016 “I am grateful for all future blessings”

Yes, you can do that. You can give thanks for the future and what it may bring. You can give thanks for anything. And, as you keep a grateful journal, you will give thanks for everything. And that puts a whole new spin on life.

May God bless you & keep you!

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