Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Take away the delicious food, spiked eggnog, and the always entertaining parades, and I’m still left with a feeling unlike any other.
Family, friends, laughter, and snuggling up to a cozy fireplace are some of the things that are so dear to me. It’s the little things in life that I am the most grateful for, and every year, I’m reminded on this day how amazing my life really is.
As easy as it might be to be grateful on a holiday that literally has “thanks” in the name, the real magic of gratitude comes into play when you say it, show it, and feel it every other day of the year.
Not so long ago, when I was at the lowest point in my life, I felt ungrateful for everything around me. I was battling a losing war with depression, work was stressing me out beyond belief, my dog was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and my father unexpectedly passed away. I didn’t think I had anything to be grateful for. But, I felt that I needed to focus my (then) dark energy on something (anything) else, so I started to write down five things every day that I was grateful for. I mean, how hard could that be?
My first few weeks of journal entries seemed forced and fake (and bordering on sarcasm). What was I grateful for? “That I’m too tired to cry right at this moment” was one of the entries.
Another was: “I’m still stressed, which means I must still be working.”
Yet another was: “Two-Buck-Chuck at Trader Joe’s.”
The sarcastic anger was palpable in all of my entries. I fought against it. Hard. I threw the journal across the room on more than one occasion. But, I knew something good would come from it. It had to. So, I would walk across the room, pick it up, un-wrinkle the pages, and begin again… huffing and puffing as though I was an 8-year-old defiantly taking a stand against Saturday morning chores.
I began rating my days on a scale of 1 to 5, with a 5 being the most wonderful day I could imagine, and a 1 being the worst. To make it realistic for where I was at the time, I made most of my days (even when they were difficult and awful) a solid 3.
Over the next few weeks, I noticed that throughout the day, I was actively searching for things to write in my gratitude journal. It made my self-imposed homework assignment that much easier. I hunted down things to be grateful for, and ever so slightly, my sarcasm began to lift.
“The air I’m breathing.”
“The tree outside my window that makes me feel like I’m in the mountains.”
“The clerk at the store that accepted my expired coupon.”
My ratings began to increase as well. My mostly 3’s turned into mostly 4’s with only the occasional 3 or 2 scattered in.
Was my life actually getting better? Or was just my attitude towards my life beginning to shift?
Yes… to both.
Through this life experiment, I discovered that all of our thoughts are made of energy, and our current life situation is a mirror on which that energy is being reflected. In other words: When we are thinking negative thoughts, negative things are bouncing back to us. And, thankfully, the more positive we put out, the more we get in return.
The Universe didn’t understand my sarcasm (thank goodness), or my attempt at comedy when I was first beginning my gratitude journal. It was merely responding to me attempting to find little things to be grateful for. And, what happened? It answered, by giving me even more.
My gratitude journal has now morphed into a Facebook page and Instagram account that is splattered with my daily gratitude. Things that make me happy, things that make me think, and most importantly, things that I am grateful for.
Now, it’s YOUR turn! Have you ever had a gratitude journal? Why did you start one? Did you notice anything change in your life?
I’d LOVE to hear from you! Please comment in the section below, or feel free to private message me here. Looking forward to hearing all about your gratitude!
Until next time, keep being amazing.