I recently read an article in the summer issue of Disfunkshion Magazine that talked about gratitude- why we need it along with some tips for living with gratitude. This article really resonated me and immediately I began writing in my journal – which was one of the tips –” keep a gratitude journal and end each day by taking note of three to five encounters you were appreciative for, that way you are able to go back and reconnect with those thankful feelings later on in life.”
Immediately, I became “giddy with excitement.” How AWESOME of an idea is that? I love keeping a journal, even though I’m often horribly sporadic in keeping up with it. Sometimes I only write every few months. But I’ve continued loving journals for many reasons. One, they provide something to look back on- to cry, to laugh, to warmly remember past moments in your life, such as that boy who you thought was the “most perfect beautiful boy you have ever seen,” from fifth grade (embarrassing), or your dreams to travel around the world, or challenges or perfect days with friends or family. Two, they provide a means of seeing how you have grown and matured over the years, how some events seemed so significant and heartbreaking at the time, but how you overcame them. Three, journals provide a means of confining/ pouring out your feelings on paper. It’s a therapeutic action. It’s a release. It’s a way of describing your feelings when you feel like you can’t portray them to those around you.
So after reading this article, I quickly made a list of some “things” I’m grateful for. They aren’t necessarily relative to what happened today, but they are everyday things I’m grateful for.
What’s the importance of acknowledging what you’re grateful for? Well, the act of seeing all that there is to be grateful for in your life helps you look at life positively and with happiness. This positivity and happiness will seep through to other areas of your life, such as your relationships with family, friends, and even strangers! I notice I feel like smiling all the time – not just when I’m with others, but when I’m with myself. There’s a confidence boost that accompanies a life of gratitude.
Finding it hard to figure out what you are grateful for? Take a quick look around you. If you are reading this, you probably own a laptop or smartphone. Or, you are reading this at a library or public area – even that is a blessing. Having access to a library provides you with the opportunity to research, to explore, to learn. Many people around the world do not even have a place like a library to go to or even the means of being able to research. Where are you? Are you in a house, office, building? You are in shelter, possibly with air conditioning. Are you outside? You are experiencing the beauty of nature – the sounds, sights, and smells. Is the sun shining? Is the rain providing a peaceful rhythm to your surroundings? Can you see, hear, speak? Are you breathing right now? Blessings upon blessings.
There is ALWAYS a reason to be grateful each and every day, even if it feels like the world is falling apart around you. Find beauty and thankfulness in simple acts, in the beauty of your surroundings, in emotions, in love. The act of gratefulness is not restricted to material “things.”
- the beach being within a short drive- the sand under my feet, the roar of the rushing waves, the salty smells
- flowers blooming year-round in Florida
- wind flowing through my hair
- smiling – with friends, family, and strangers
- fresh water to drink and food to eat
- a body that is able to exercise, to see, hear, speak, walk, even stand
- a family that loves me despite my flaws
- my flaws – they make me unique and human. They make me interesting and vulnerable. They make me, me.
- a perfect God who loves me unconditionally