I try to find 3 things each day to be grateful for. Some are incredibly small, maybe insignificant. Some are just plain silly. Some no doubt are reaching to meet the 3. Gratitude is not just a state of mind, it’s a way of life.
Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal
In Thrive, Arianna Huffington wrote, “according to a study by researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida, having participants write down a list of positive events at the close of a day — and why the events made them happy — lowered their self-reported stress levels and gave them a greater sense of calm at night.” There are 31 other benefits of a gratitude attitude.
Opening My Gratitude Journal
I am not a religious person but I do consider myself a spiritual one. The first 3 things you’ll see in my journal?
- If God Has Sent Me God, Has Prepared Me.
- Save Your Strength for the Things That You Can Change.
- Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes.
Health and health insurance: I am immensely grateful to have good health and health care. Yes, I complain about the cost of my coverage, but 11% of Americans still don’t have health insurance despite the increased availability. My mother has lost her sight due to macular degeneration. I can still see, for which I am grateful. Most nights I sleep.
Employment: There are countless entries noting, “Can pay bills.” I am well aware many people do not have that comfort and acutely aware of what it’s like to not be able to pay my bills. I am grateful for my employment—however challenging it can be. I am one of the lucky ones. There are still so many un- and underemployed. I am also fortunate for the “people of good character who I know/work with,” including my “great team @ work” (the most intelligent, ethical, caring, and fun people you can imagine).
Marriage: There are many entries like “R has my back” or “old photo of R—he was happy I was there.” Like most people, I have moments where I feel unloved and unwanted. But in my heart of hearts, when the fog clears and I’m rational again, I remember I am loved and wanted by at least one person in my life. “He knows my fave tea.”
Furry friends: There are numerous entries about our rescue cat, Sas. “Sas purred.” “Sas slept with us.” “Sas playing in bed.” And one of my fave memories, after this beautiful white cat emerged from behind the potting table with a smudged face and chest, looking as though she had survived a fire, “laughing at filthy Sas.” It’s not limited to just my cat: I noted “horses OK after tornado” after a storm tore through a local stable.
The (seemingly) little things: Pruning plants. The driver who hit my car having insurance. A new haircut. Hearing a favorite song. Lox cream cheese. Quick-dry nail polish. A day off. Laughing. Snorkeling.
Hope. Love. Forgiveness. Perspective.