About a month ago I was in Florida, visiting my mother who moved there last year. My mom used to live five minutes away from me and now lives 18 hours away, so it's safe to say I cherish the times I get to go visit my mom. My last visit, she was updating me on new things happening and new hobbies she was picking up.
She has been journaling a lot more, and I love that she is finding an outlet in writing, just as I do. She told me she keeps a gratitude journal now, too, and I just kind of shrugged and said that's great she does that. She read me a passage in a book she had going in detail about what a gratitude journal is and how it can change your outlook on life. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, so I figured I'd give it a shot. My mom and I went to a book store and I picked out a cute leather-bound journal I could keep on my nightstand and use as my gratitude journal.
A month later, here I am wondering why I ever laughed at the idea of how it would change my life. I feel like I have a completely different outlook on my life. I have always felt very blessed and grateful for the things I have, but I realized how much I do take for granted. Every night before I go to sleep I now jot down five things that I was grateful for that day. Some days I feel like I could fill up a page, and other days I struggle to think of things.
On bad days, or days when my anxiety took over and nothing seemed to be great, I went to basics. I am grateful for the food I had, a warm home to come to after work, a job that provides me the life I have, my car, and being able to call my mom when I'm struggling. I have been going to bed every night happy, regardless of how bad my day was. The action of writing it down really helps…seeing it on paper and being able to look back on things I probably would have forgotten.
At the end of January, I flipped through the pages, and realized our life is really all about the little things strung together. I then took a few pages to write how I felt about January overall and reflect on my month.
It can be so easy to take the good times for granted, as it is for the bad days to seem completely dark. My gratitude journal has helped level out my mood so much. I know that I always have at least five things from every single day that were good and it always keeps my spirits up. I have a completely different outlook on life, because I know that even if something bad happens, it doesn't just undo all of the great things I still have in my life. I feel like I have a much more upbeat positive outlook on things. I know that the bad times will always happen, but the good far out ways the bad. I know that if something isn't going to matter a year from now, I shouldn't stress or get worked up over it.
I highly encourage everyone to take the next 21 days and keep a gratitude journal. Sure, it might seem annoying or pointless to take a few minutes and think about your day and write down five things, but I promise it will become a habit and it could drastically change your perspective on your life. What's the worst that could happen? You might find out that you don't feel the need to write things every day, but you also might find that you look forward to curling up in bed with your journal and reflecting on your day before closing your eyes. I hate saying that my mother is usually right about things, but mom, you were right. I am so happy I started my journal because it's given me the opportunity to remember the little things that make my life so incredibly full.