Photo by Daria Shevtsova

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and anxiety of daily life, the complaints about what we need and what we have too much of. And yet, if we take the time to focus on what good is in our lives, we have the opportunity to experience a life-changing shift of perspective.

With this in mind, there has been a growing trend in Gratitude Journals. While there are many formats of gratitude journaling, the importance is the focus on being grateful for the great things we have in our lives.

It is important when engaging in gratitude, to not merely list mundane things in life that we take for granted (i.e., shelter, clothing, and family), but to truly relish the good of these things. Focus on the traits of your family members or friends, the things you truly appreciate about them. Be grateful for the opportunities of your housing, not just that it exists.

To take off the pressure or prevent it becoming a chore, most people consider it best to write only a few days a week or when the gratitude compels you. It means more to remain intentional than to force yourself to write daily and dig for the insignificant things.

It is also recommended to write down the object of gratitude within twenty-four hours of considering it. When you do so, don’t feel as though you have to list fifty things, just take time to focus on a few individual things and savor them. Instead of forcing yourself to think of anything and everything, instead of asking, “What do the most disadvantaged in the world not have that I do?”, let it come naturally and challenge yourself to notice details of your life that you would not want to be without.

Whether you use an elaborate journal, taking up two pages to describe just one thing or choose the simple version, of briefly, deliberately listing, or even tacking post-its all over your wall with a brief sentence or two, the important mindset behind gratitude journaling is shifting your perspective from lack to thankfulness.

While it is more effective to write things down and put them in concrete words, it is still beneficial to think at the moment about these unique blessings.

Remember when you are stressed at work, in an uncomfortable family situation, or experiencing heartache, take time to mentally walk through things that make you happy and opportunities you are grateful for. Then, once you have a few moments, write them down. The thought matters at the moment, but the concrete written word will reaffirm the thought long after, and you will, again, recall the source of gratitude in the future.

For a society obsessed with success, with striving for greatness, for being better, the peaceful calm of sitting down to intentionally consider the good things can open a window to thankfulness. This thankfulness is not merely segregated to a November dinner with family, but in every moment and opportunity that presents itself to you.

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