This is a blog post about gratitude.
On my workday commute I usually listen to Sirius radio (“Simply Sinatra” is my go-to) or catch up with family members and friends- With mom on the line and a coffee in hand, I95 seems slightly more bearable. I had to get my car fixed a few weeks ago, however, and my husband was on one of his trips so his car was available while mine was in the shop.
I kept his preferred radio station on while I pulled out of my street and onto the parkway. Intrigued by the morning chatter that ensued, I tuned in and listened to the female host talk to her counterparts about a gratitude journal that she purchased. “I started keeping a log last week of all the things in life I am grateful for,” she explained, “trying to keep my husband and my kids out of the equation.” Her colleagues asked what she jotted down, and she responded, “The exercise was harder than I thought it would be. I guess I am grateful for, coffee… and seasons… laughter…” She trailed off.
And then the topic changed directions.
The conversation, or lack of an utter outpouring of thankfulness, stayed with me. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t…more.
My husband bought me a gratitude journal of sorts for Christmas, and I encourage everyone and anyone to snag a copy. Rather than coming up with random things to be thankful for each day, this book is a compilation of guided prompts that really allow you to target specific areas of your life and reflect, rejoice in opportunities and life successes, and work on potential areas of development. The journal made me become more aware of my day to day, more cognizant of “good” around me, and best of all… I could write in bullet list form.
The first list was very basic: “List What Makes You Happy Right Now.” I could easily rattle things off.
- Quality Time
- Being Physically Active
- Taking Baths
- Lighting Candles
- Feeling Pretty
- Playing With My Dogs
- Taking Photos
- Listening To Music
- Drinking Coffee
- Getting Positive Feedback
- Watching Storms
- Wearing Heels
- Warming Up By A Fire
- Getting & Receiving Gifts
- Exploring New Places
- Writing Letters
- Indulging In Delicious Foods
- Empowering Others
- Creating- Anything
- Feeling The Sunlight Warm My Face
- Spending Time With Loved Ones, Family Members & Friends
- Helping Others & Volunteering
- Being Intimate- Physically, Mentally, Or Emotionally
- Sitting Under The Stars
- Walking City Streets
- Hosting Gatherings
- Leading Productive Days
I filled two pages easily, in short, and could’ve kept going. But then as weeks continued, it was harder to effortlessly brain dump on paper: The journal posed some questions like, “List the things you want to say ‘No’ to,” “List the ways that you think someone you love would describe you,” and “List the happiest people you know.”
Woof. I have three names scribbled down on page 64.
I think gratitude and happiness go hand in hand, and to be honest, I don’t know that people think about their blessings often enough. I am close with so many wonderful souls and they are all privileged in their own ways, as am I… yet those freedoms rarely ever come up in conversation. On those I95 heart-to-hearts, I seldom say, “I’m so lucky because” or hear, “I’m just really blessed.” Usually I am bitching about traffic or listening to mom complain about tax season or too much snow on the ground.
This is an area that I am trying to improve upon this year, and perhaps in participating in these mental exercises myself, I will inspire others to do the same. Not only does gratitude contemplation allow one to slow down and examine the day to day further, but it helps to appreciate the world around you. It magnifies places, things, people, and paints them in a positive light.
Let’s radiate some positivity, shall we? What are you most grateful for?