Take for instance those days we wake up, and within 30 minutes, something goes wrong, which seemingly causes the rest of the day tailspin into a “I wish I could got back to bed and start over” kind of day. You wake up and realized you forgot to set your alarm, so you are late to work. You arrive at work only to notice your shoes don’t match your outfit. The office ran out of coffee. The meeting you worked so hard to prepare for is cancelled, and then you realized you left your phone at home.
Now let’s take the opposite of that. Imagine your day starting with the sun coming through your bedroom windows. Then the subway you hoped to catch just pulls up, so you don’t even have to wait. Starbucks has a special where they are offering free coffee for the day. You get compliments on a report you put together. A good friend you lost track of “friends” you on Facebook. You have an incredible first date with a man. And then….. Well, you catch my drift.
I think there may be something to this gratitude journal! It seems to force the mind to focus on the good things in life, regardless of how dramatically awesome or simply nice they may be. Over time, a “half glass empty” mindset begins to turn into a “half glass full” mindset. Thus, if you start your day with the alarm not going off when you wanted it to, you are more equipped to not let that moment define how the rest of your day will go. You can be late to work but still get that free Starbucks, hear the compliments on your report, and have an awesome first date!
Admittedly, I am still working on remembering to write in my gratitude journal. I attended two conferences in two different cities this week, causing my routine to be a bit off. Additionally, I have not yet passed the “it takes 21 days to make something a habit” milestone. Once I realized I forgot to make one of my journal entries the night before, I grabbed the journal and thought through the prior day, writing all that I was grateful for. As a matter of fact, I was surprised at how long my list was!
If you have not yet started your own gratitude journal, I highly recommend starting today, especially if you are going through a rough time. It takes only five minutes and you will reap great rewards!
I've been doing the journal since the 20th or so and I have to say, it's definitely interesting. I can't say that I always have positive thoughts when I review the day, but it ensures I don't dwell on the bad stuff. It's been really helpful – you may not be able to change things that happened during the day, but you can change how you view them!