A Little Gratitude

In recent years there seems to have been a shift towards the power of gratitude in daily life, of being thankful for what you have rather than the endless pursuit of what you don’t have in your life at this time. It is a deceptively simple idea.

I have read of people using gratitude journals on a daily basis, or at least regularly, to track moments of gratitude in their life. Part of me acknowledged that this could be beneficial in various ways, but still I did nothing about it apart from being a little more mindful about the many good things in my life.

Then about a year ago a friend mentioned that various studies confirmed that one of the best things that you could do for your long-term mental health was to keep a gratitude journal. I made a mental note at the time then moved on to the next thought. It was only during November last year that it floated back up through my mind and I started to keep track of what I was grateful for. Short and sweet, three little things each day. And I’ve kept up the practice.

Off the top of my head, the main sources of gratitude in my life are my family and friends, my dog and my garden. Writing and creativity feature quite a bit too. Sometimes I am surprised at what comes to mind when I pause to think of what has brought me joy during the day. Here is a sample.

  • Watching pelicans paddle past, the almost impossibility of their gravitational pull.
  • The purple blossoms of jacaranda trees.
  • The clever reuse of old buildings as space for creative use (old dairy in Bellingen).
  • For the world having so many books of wonder.
  • For having a heart and feeling, even sad things.
  • Sunset.
  • Arriving home. Instantly better.
  • Watering the garden and finding new flowers.
  • Heavy fog on the way to work – altered perception.
  • Laughing with friends till we cry.
  • Feeling flat but writing anyway.
  • Walking with the start of a story in mind.
  • Smiling at strangers and collecting smiles in return.
  • Hearing kookaburras. Anywhere, anytime.

Do you take stock of little moments of gratitude in your life?

[Photo: a repurposed candle holder in my Mum’s garden]

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13 thoughts on “A Little Gratitude

  1. What a wonderful list. I often find myself asking clients,students and friends “what made you smile or laugh today?” it often turns into a instant gratitude conversation.

  2. Lovely. It made me smile. The little things are beautiful in their variety and their impact, and help to declutter our world and its worries. It can help us relax instead of fixating madly on some of the big things that can consume us. You’re right – even the sad things have their own kind of beauty. Thank you for this post!

  3. Brilliant idea. Throughout the day, I find little things to be joyful about to avoid getting caught up in the minutiae of everyday life and work that sometimes causes senseless anxiety. I never thought of writing them in a journal. That could be a blog in itself.

    • Very true! These little moments of joy are worth noting, whether it is just pausing for a moment to register it, or writing it down, or sharing it with someone else in a conversation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

  4. Reblogged this on Gail's Blog and commented:
    What a wonderful and simple idea to leverage the power of gratitude and mitigate the everlasting desire for more: A gratitude journal. I read this post and decided to embrace the idea before it slipped my mind. Applying a sticker to a small spiral notebook I had been given and set aside years ago, labeling it as “Gratitude Journal,” and placing it on my nightstand to write, just before bed, three things today that made me grateful, will bring me more sunshine in the morning, I believe.

    • Thanks, Bill, for your kind words. I can recommend keeping track of the good things, regardless of how briefly you do it. Even on really trying days there is usually still something in life to be grateful for 😊.

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