Friday, September 16, 2011

Writing For the Soul

Gratitude Journal

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
-Melody Beattie

I always have been an upbeat person, looking for the good in every situation,   but like so many people I would let things get me down on occasion.  Several years ago I read about something called a "Gratitude Journal".  The concept of this is to find three things each day for which you are grateful.  Contrary to diaries where you write about things in general and oftentimes it might be something that brings back bad memories, the gratitude journal brings out the good in your day, reminding you of the pleasant events. The amazing thing about this little task is that in a few months it will change you.  It will help you to see the good in your life and focus less on the bad.  You will be more content and hopeful.  You WILL be a changed person.

To begin the journal, find a beautiful, blank book.  Something that shows your personality and makes you feel happy to hold onto.  A special pen helps set the mood too.  Do you prefer a pencil? A rolling writer? A gel pen? If you feel good about what you are writing in and what you are using to do this then you will have the right mindset.

Each night before bed, while the day is still fresh in your mind, sit down and get comfortable.  Look back at your day and remind yourself of something for which you are grateful.  It will be hard at first but begin at the beginning - morning - and go through your day looking for even the tiniest little detail that made you smile or gave you a moments happiness.  Think hard.  Did you kiss your husband before he left for work?  Were you able to take a hot shower?  Did your car start?  Did you talk on the phone to someone special?  Did your child tell you something interesting? You only need three, you'll remember them, just think hard. Go through your day and record these events.  

If you are having a particularly bad day then this is the day when you really need to be writing what you are grateful for.  Take your mind off of whatever happened to make you upset and turn it onto the happiness of your day. On those bad days re-read what you have already written in your journal. I guarantee it will make you smile. 

As time goes by you will find writing in this gratitude journal so much easier, you may even feel that you don't need it as much because you are a changed person.  You will be more positive and feel better about your life.  But keep writing, especially on those bad days.  

A French proverb reminds us that "Gratitude is the heart's memory." 

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