I decided for the week of Thanksgiving that I would keep a Gratitude Journal and jot down a couple things each day that I was grateful for. There has been a bit of research done on keeping a Gratitude Journal, and those who kept a journal were found to sleep better, have a clearer headspace, and were happier overall.
Here are some tips if you want to keep your own gratitude journal:
- Be specific – specificity is key to fostering gratitude. “I’m grateful that my co-workers brought me soup when I was sick on Tuesday” will be more effective than “I’m grateful for my co-workers.”
- Depth over breadth – Elaborate in the details. The particulars in a few things will carry more weight than a huge list of superficial things.
- Get personal – Don’t just write what your grateful for, write why you’re grateful for it.
- See the gifts – Thinking of the good things in your life as gifts can keep you from taking them for granted.
- Savor the surprises – Try to record events that took you by surprise. Usually it’s the unexpected things that mean the most.
- Don’t go crazy – If you miss a day, don’t stress. If you’re trying this out for a week, it’s ok to write every day. If you’re trying this out for a month or more, maybe cut back to 1-3 times a week. This is because we adapt to positive events and can soon become numb to them—that’s why it helps to savor surprises.
“Give thanks for a little, and you will find a lot.” -Hausa Proverb
November 19, 2017 – Day One
I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY LITTLE MIRACLE MONKEY: She’s such a fluffy nugget. She’s always following me around the house. Either because she thinks I’ll share my food with her, or maybe because she just likes being close to me. I think I’ll go with that second one…
I AM GRATEFUL FOR SNOW: It falls so peacefully and reminds me to slow down. It makes me think of Sarajevo a little bit and reminds me of the mountains. Every new place has its good and bads, and I have to remind myself to appreciate what I have now. I might not have mountains in the Great White North, but I do have forests and beautiful lakes.
November 20, 2017 – Day Two
I AM GRATEFUL FOR CHESHIRE: Today was a really crappy day. Things waffled on the verge of frustrating and tears. All the things I had been working on weren’t working, and every time I tried to Fix it, ti only got worse. While I was sulking and complaining and crying, Chesh did dishes, went to the store for milk, and came back with my favorite bottle of wine. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him. He always knows exactly what I need right when I need it. And I don’t just mean a glass of wine. Even his simple companionship sitting next to me watching Justice League is absolutely perfect.
November 21, 2017 – Day Three
I AM GRATEFUL FOR MINDI (AND ALSO DAVE): Sometimes I just need to rant. I need to externally process all the things that bother me and most times the things I want to say are not considered “good Christian” trains of thought. I am so thankful that I ended up in a place where I can have good solid people around me. A family that I can trust and vent and laugh and drink with. Mindi fills that hole, and especially after tonight, I love her even more.
November 22, 2017 – Day Four
I AM GRATEFUL FOR CHAI IN THE MORNINGS: The spices combined with the warmth of hot chai in the morning not only gives me the boost of caffeine that I need, but also just makes winter feel better. I don’t exactly know how to describe it, but the combination of the hot mug between my hands, the steamed milk, the cinnamon and allspice and cloves and ginger, it all makes me happy to be awake in the morning….which is usually a pretty difficult thing to accomplish.
I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY TALENTS: Whether it’s genes, DNA, or God-given, I love that I am the way I am. My talents make me happy to be me. Writing, Cooking, Design, Music: all of these things make me an individual. And I love being me.
November 23, 2017 – Day Five
I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY MOTHER: I honestly think it’s because of my mom that I am the way I am. Specifically the fact that I love to cook and I love to try new recipes, and it’s all because of her. I spent so much time with my mom in the kitchen when I was younger, and she taught me everything from how to correctly cream butter and sugar together, to timing your meal so everything is ready at the same time. Doing thanksgiving alone this year, I slaved over the food all day, and in the end it was better than I could have asked for. My mom is an amazing person and she does so much for so many people. I’m so proud of her and all she does. She takes care of my family, teaches Sunday school, is earning her Bible degree, raising two insane teenagers, and still has time to talk to me about my life. She’s so talented, no matter where she is: in the kitchen, at the piano, in the classroom. I am so thankful for her constant support and love. And I’m definitely thankful for all the recipes she shares with me.
November 24, 2017 – Day Six
I AM GRATEFUL FOR BOOKS: I’ve been reading a series again that I first read a long time ago, and while it’s been a while, I still find myself remembering certain facts and getting excited again about the story. The series consists of over 27 books and is going to take me quite a few months to finish. My goal is to have the series finished by next October. I am so thankful for the amount of effort and work that goes into a series of books like that. Many sleepless nights and many drafts contributed to the finished product and I’m now enjoying the fruit of all that work. And I appreciate it.
November 25, 2017 – Day Seven
I AM GRATEFUL FOR BACON & MINI MUFFINS: In Bosnia, we didn’t have bacon. As a Muslim country, where pork is considered an unclean animal, finding bacon is few and far between. I’m thankful that I can go down to the Family Dollar and be able to pick up bacon without hassle. It’s a simple food pleasure that makes my heart happy. Also mini muffins. You can just pop ’em in and yum. It’s the simple morning pleasures of life.
I AM GRATEFUL FOR BUBBLE BATHS AND TAKING TIME FOR MYSELF: Sometimes I think that I can’t enjoy a bath because there are too many things to worry about. There are dishes to be done, or meals to be planned, or laundry to fold. I think to myself, “I can’t take a bath right now! There’s too much to do!” and honestly? I really need time to stop and just be me for a bit. A hot bath with a glass of wine and a good book. Maybe a clay mask or body scrub. It all relaxes me. I have the perfect combination to de-stress, and let myself breathe. And breathing is good.