Gratitude Journal – How Giving Thanks Transforms Your Life
Of the 86,400 or so seconds you have today, have you taken at least one to say thanks?
Gratitude is one of the most powerful vibration-raising things you can do.There’s an art to gratitude, of course. Just like anything else, you only get out of it what you put into it.
True gratitude is more than mumbled thanks or a scribbled note. It is the embodiment of appreciation for the fact that you are alive and experiencing life, and that you are able to learn and grow. It is a heartfelt appreciation for everything.
How can giving thanks transform your life?
Let’s look at an example of “Tom,” whose job is driving him into the ground. His boss is crazy (not in a good way). The hours are long, the work is mind-numbing, his commute is endless and even though the money is decent, he is too exhausted from the long week to enjoy life. Tom believes in always giving his best, but he’s finding it increasingly hard to be motivated. He is miserable, stressed out and he feels stuck because he knows he’s lucky to have a job – many people he knows are unemployed and in danger of losing everything.
One day, Tom hears about the power of gratitude and he decides to give it a whirl. After all, he’s got nothing to lose. He takes out a notebook and writes, “Things I’m Grateful For In My Job.” In the back of his mind he’s thinking, “This won’t take long!”
Tom writes the first entry, “I am grateful for a steady paycheck.” He feels grateful as he reminds himself of the plight of many people who have no money coming in. He starts to write his second entry, “I am grateful for my boss” but immediately scribbles it out. That doesn’t feel true. It feels contrived, like he’s ‘supposed to’ write that. His boss is a rude, condescending and irrational jerk! What’s to be grateful for?
Tom closes his eyes and thinks for a while. Suddenly, his eyes fly open and he writes his second entry, “I am grateful for my boss teaching me how NOT to treat people.” Wow. Tom is suddenly filled with excitement he hasn’t felt in years.
He beings looking at absurd and annoying things to be grateful for. And to his surprise, he finds the silver lining in all of them.
On his hellish commute: “I am thankful for my commute, which gives me time to think and plan.” and “I am grateful I live in a peaceful neighborhood away from the noise of the city.”
On his mind-numbing job: “I am thankful for my ability to find ways to make my job interesting,” “I am grateful I can find the zen of being in the moment” and “I am grateful for having learned skills that become my jumping-off point for greater things.”
On his boss’s irrational behavior: “I am grateful that I have learned how NOT to run a business.” And to his surprise, “I am grateful that I am becoming a more patient and compassionate person because of my boss’s behavior.”
On his fatigue and need to decompress over the weekend: “I am thankful for the time I have to relax” and “I am grateful that I have the opportunity to learn to improve my time management at work so I can be more productive with less effort.”
When he’s finished, Tom is shocked to find that he has filled five pages of his notebook. One word of gratitude sparked another, and another, and another…
On his vibrational high, Tom continues writing about his wife, home, family, heath, neighbors, car, etc. He begins focusing on things that irritate him and make him angry. To his delight, the minute he becomes grateful for something that annoys him, the annoyance vanishes. It is replaced with gratitude and love. Tom’s attitude toward work and life in general is completely altered.
His last entry? “I am grateful that my hand is completely cramped up because I had this chance to express my thanks.”
Before long, Tom’s improved personal energy begins affecting the people around him. He soon finds himself promoted to a different division where his talents are appreciated. He no longer complains or lets his job stress him out. He laughs more.
You might be in a situation similar to Tom’s, where you’re focusing on the negative and completely missing the positive. Most of us do this! But consider, too, that ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ are aspects of the same energy. You can’t experience one without the other. They provide context for each other – without down, you would have no concept of up. Without light, you would have no concept of dark. No hot without cold, no yes without no.
So look for the opposite quality in each situation. Look for the good.
A gratitude journal gets you to see the positive aspect of everything. The meaning may be hidden but if you take Tom’s approach and just start writing stream-of-consciousness, the meanings will reveal themselves to you.
Be thankful for people and situations in your life who grate on your nerves and irritate the heck out of you. Try to find out why they irritate you so much. Consider the possibility that they may be acting as a mirror to show you aspects of yourself that need changing.
Write in the morning to set the tone for the day. And write in the evening, to reflect on the day. Your journal entries don’t have to be long. Simple sentences will do.
And if you can’t think of anything? Write, “I am thankful.” Just that. BE gratitude.
If you commit to this for 60-90 days, every day, you will experience a transformation in your life like you can’t imagine right now. You will completely change your attitude toward the things that annoy and upset you. Life will be happier and more fulfilling just by showing appreciation.