An attitude of gratitude
The power of positive thinking isn’t a new concept by any means. Clearly if you focus on the good stuff that happens, you’ll notice it more. Conversely, if you focus on the negative, you’ll see more of that.
A couple of years ago I noticed that a lot of my Facebook friends had a gratitude jar. Every day they would write down something they were thankful for on a slip of paper and drop it in the jar. Then at they end of the year they could take out all the slips and remind themselves of all these wonderful things. I have a beautiful wooden box which a client gave me a number of years ago, and I decided to use that instead of a jar. I did it for a while, but it really didn’t excite me. All I saw was a bunch of scraps of paper in a box.
Next, I started a Pinterest board called Thankful Thoughts. I intended to add one pin every day. The problem I ran into was that not every thankful thought can be captured in an image, at least not one that I owned or could easily find online. I kept it up for quite a while – saving over 200 pins – but it too fell by the wayside, and I’ve since deleted the board.
Most recently, I began a coaching program with Elizabeth Hagen, who teaches that gratitude is an essential step to success and told me about an app called Day One. Shortly after buying my iPad (one of the things I am thankful for), I downloaded the app and began using it as a gratitude journal.
Every night before I go to bed, I create an entry, typing three things I’m thankful for and attaching either a photo I find online (because it’s strictly for my personal use, I don’t need to worry about copyright issues) or one I’ve taken myself. One day I took some photos specifically with my gratitude journal in mind. Because they’re my personal thoughts, I won’t share a screenshot, but you can see how great it looks on the Day One website.
I’ve only been doing this for a couple of weeks, but I can see this being a habit that lasts. Not only does the technology of it appeal to me, it turns out that evening is a much better time for this activity than first thing in the morning, which is when I did in in my previous efforts.
During my first week of this practice, I happened to read this:
Gratitude increases resistance to life’s curve balls. It improves your outlook on life. Practicing gratitude can rewire your brain to see things more positively. Gratitude is a wonderful life tool.
Barbara Tako, Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools
I discussed Tako’s book further in a separate post called Cancer touches all of us, but I found that particular passage very timely.
Do you make gratitude a part of your daily life?