By now, I have been focusing on happiness and positive psychology for some time. One of the things that I see a lot is gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.
The art of appreciation is all around training your mind to see what you have in your life rather than what you don’t have. Being grateful for the good things in your life is seen to have a range of advantages for our happiness and wellbeing.
Sonja Lyubomirsky has dedicated most of her career to happiness. She believes that that adopting a grateful attitude has several benefits. You can read more about that here http://www.gratefulness.org/readings/eight_boosts_gratitude.htm
Around three years ago is when I first dedicated myself to recording three things I was grateful for each day. My friend and I used to email them to each other at the end of each day. My experience of this was great and I remember it definitely made a difference to my outlook and I would notice positive aspects from my days much more than I had before. However at some point, our emails got fewer and fewer until the point of stopping. To be fair, it is a big change to maintain.
Fast forward to November 2014 and I decided to take up a more grateful attitude again. Every morning when I got in the shower, I made this my time to think of everything I was grateful for from the day before. I found this a much better way to spend my ‘free thinking’ time. It was much more productive than going over any worries or thinking about my upcoming day at work.
Come the New Year and I was ready to start keeping a journal of three gratefuls for each day. I splashed out on a lovely diary and started writng in it on January 1st 2015.
My problem is that I stay at my partner’s some days in the week and I don’t want to have to carry the journal with me every day so I end up missing days, when I come to writing in it I have to record two/three days at a time.
Some evenings I really can’t be bothered to write in it, even though it only takes a few minutes, it is daunting knowing I have to think back to the last three days. Sometimes I can’t even remember details from yesterday and so it doesn’t seem like I am recording the ‘little’ good things.
It’s no wonder I haven’t found my grateful journal to be helpful this time, it has become a chore. Yesterday I considered giving it up but I knew I wasn’t ready to do this and the idea definitely did not make me happy. So, last night I took the time to sit down and really think about what I was grateful for and why I was grateful. Without a doubt, I felt better, I felt like I understood the purpose of the journal. Actually spending time and enjoying it was key.
Instead of throwing this idea away, I have now reset this goal; I will write my goals daily (even if I have to note on my phone and write them in later) and really take my time to feel my gratefuls and actually be grateful. This is not a chore; this is to improve my happiness!!
Also, I don’t tend to stick to three, some days I am grateful for much more so I note them all. Quite literally, the more the merrier! And I have found that looking back over the my previous gratefuls is like having a diary and I am able to remember positive things that I may have otherwise have forgotten.
I will focus on this new approach over the next month or so and will report back on if the gratitude journal really does make me happier.
What are your thoughts/experiences of a gratitude diary?
I would love to hear if you have any other ideas on how I can I can express my gratitude.