Before you groan out loud, know that I am with you on the groaning at the thought of reading another’s gratitude journal. I hear you. I understand. I remember when the gratitude journal idea hit Facebook and people were writing the top 5 things they were grateful for on a daily basis. I seriously scrolled past as quickly as I could because I thought it was a stupid idea. A very stupid idea. And it made me wonder if anyone read what their friends were grateful for? Most only had a few likes, and I was truly surprised there were any. Had anyone read what their friends were grateful for or were they simply being supportive by clicking a like. I do that all the time. Don’t want to read the article but I either like the headline or want to show my friends that someone saw that they posted something.
One gal definitely didn’t get the whole grateful thing because she’d say things like, “I’m so grateful that I’m so smart and pretty,” or “I’m so grateful that I work so hard and get awards all the time.” Um, yeah, you need to go back and look at the directions to what a gratitude journal is! I had to mute her because my blood pressure rose as soon as I saw the words, “Today I am grateful for…” Ugh and ugh.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago while I was on my Curious app. I earn points for learning new things. The topic was about gratitude and happiness. The instructor said that there was an experiment that researchers conducted on gratitude and happiness. He said that the researchers did a study where they told a group of people to write what they were grateful for on a weekly basis and another group they asked them to write things they were annoyed by. What they discovered is that those who wrote what they were grateful for were overwhelmingly less depressed and felt far more positive about their lives than the other group AND the happiness lasted well beyond the experiment. The instructor cautioned, however, that there’s a fine line between writing too much and just right. He said the experiment showed that those who wrote a gratitude journal only once per week is the ‘just right’ amount.
My experiment is on myself. You don’t have to read what I’m grateful for but perhaps you would like to start your own Gratitude Journal. Remember, it’s only once a week and you only have to come up with about 3-5 things you’re grateful for.
I’m conducting this experiment on myself because I typically get very down this time of year. Not only is it Christmas but my birthday is also coming up, and because I live in California, the end of the ‘winter’ season is soon–much sooner than if I lived somewhere more north or east of here. My winter ends somewhere around the end of January. And now with all the climate change, it’s sometimes over 80 degrees in January. Who wants to be in shorts in January with hairy, white legs and too much fat from all the overeating from Thanksgiving and Christmas? Not me! I prefer to save my pasty, fat legs for June.
This week’s gratitude journal entry runs the gamut. See if this list gets you writing your own.
1.) I am grateful for the Internet. A few days ago I looked at a high number on a lab test and wondered what it was. I googled it and found many interesting (and terrifying) articles that I could talk to my doctor about. Turns out, there’s not much I can do about the number cuz I was born that way. It also turns out that being a vegan will definitely help keep me alive–much more so than Paleo, unfortunately. Although I like being vegan, I may have to throw in some grass-fed, free range, non-factory farmed meat every once in a while.
2.) I’m grateful for the two dogs in my life. Life without dogs is so dull. Both have so much personality and their only job seems to be to make me happy and keep me smiling. I especially love being licked in my face. Brody licks me so hard and for so long that I have to sometimes push him away so that I can take a breath.
3.) With our chilly weather, I’m so grateful for a well insulated house. Although our builder sucked and so many things were done poorly, they seemed to have gotten the insulation right. Yay!
4.) I’m so thankful for my credit cards. Why? Because I hate shopping. I hate crowds. I hate malls. With my credit card I can simply search on the Internet (see #1) and buy whatever I need and I don’t have to see people. Again, yay!
5.) We’ve been in our house for 18 years. In the cul-de-sac across the street, there’s a rental. It has always been a rental and we’ve seen many families come and go but the latest family is definitely the best. Not only did the lady of the house start a first annual progressive dinner party event, but she and her husband hung a giant string of lights from her house to the house across the street from them. The strand says ‘Joy’ and each night I look outside my upstairs window and just love seeing those lights. It makes it seem like a true neighborhood. So, thanks go to Anita. She has given our neighborhood more than she knows.
Because thankful goes with Thursday, my gratitude journal will be published weekly until I get bored with the idea or can no longer think of anything. If you’d like to find out more about how keeping a gratitude journal can help you, you can learn about it here.