Using a Gratitude Journal

I started a Gratitude Journal as an exercise with my son, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. On his “bad” days, it helps to have some positive memories to look back on, and to remind him that today will pass, and that tomorrow has great possibilities. I don’t think that he has kept up with this activity, certainly not as regularly as he should, but I have kept up the habit, and I do enjoy it! A Gratitude Journal is simply a daily or weekly list of things for which you are grateful. Your list can be people, places, events, activities, or anything that makes you happy or brings back a good memory.

Admittedly, a daily Gratitude Journal can be more challenging, and some days your list may consist of the basics – a roof over your head, coffee in your cup in the morning, and a paycheck at the end of the week. That’s ok. Other days bring a reunion with old friends, a special meal, a hug from child, or something equally special. For example, last night, when the temperature dropped to 35 below zero with the wind chill, I was very grateful for our electric blanket (with dual controls)!! Today, I am very grateful for fleece-lined tights and wool sweaters. As a coffee lover, I am always grateful for our coffee maker with the timer, so that my 1st cup is hot, fresh, and waiting for me when I wake up.

More personal things on my list often include the health and safety of my children, both of whom drive all over the place, and I am always happy to read a text letting me know that they have arrived somewhere intact. Almost every night before he goes to sleep, Brian remembers to remove the child-proof cap from my medicine bottle, and when I stumble in to take my early morning thyroid pill, I am grateful for this thoughtfulness, especially when my hands don’t want to work to open that darned cap. And, yes, I know, next time I should ask for a regular cap…..

Personally, I keep my Gratitude Journal small on purpose, and I prefer the Quo Vadis bound journal in the 4” x 6 3/8” size, in lined to help keep my lists organized and legible. This size fits in my purse or briefcase, but I do generally prefer a larger size bound notebook for regular journaling. I keep my journal on or in my nightstand, so that in the morning, or before sleep, I can make notes of things to be grateful for. I generally prefer a fine nib on my pens, and I try to keep a metal-bodied pen with my journal, since I tend to be fairly clumsy, as many of you know…..I usually have my Sheaffer Intensity, or my Pilot Vanishing Point in Copper, both of which are super reliable and feel good in my hand. On those overcast, blistery days in January, looking back at my list from July keeps me going. Our local Farmer’s Market and all of the yummy fresh produce, grilled veggies with our special family recipe, our gorgeous back yard with the flowers and trees, and our wonderful downtown are all things that I am grateful to be able to experience in the summer, and during the winter, I have to hold on to that….

I have found that by keeping a Gratitude Journal, not only am I recording meaningful events, or interactions, but I am actively seeking them out. I am paying more attention to the good times, and this helps to diminish the impact of a less-than-great day. We are trying to impress that upon our son, who needs some guidance with that…

What about you? Do you keep a record of happy memories, or things for which you are grateful?

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