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.
- 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]