Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Gratitude Journal

I'm just finishing up Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. I've had an especially busy few weeks, so it's taken longer than I'd expected to finish, but I'm sort of happy that it did, I've been able to savour the book a little longer and take a bit more time to reflect on her progress rather than just rush through to the next chapter.
One of my only disappointments with the book thus far, if you could even really consider it a disappointment, is that she didn't find a benefit from the gratitiude journal she started. As the project develops there are things that work for her and things that don't, so some are swept aside over time - such was the fate of the gratitude journal.
Now, she did express that she saw how it could work for others, just not for her. And I can understand that. I didn't expect that I would be someone it worked for. But, as it happens, I am.
I first heard the idea in an issue of O Magazine. Yes, I confess to being a full on fan of all things O. It struck me as a bit odd, but when I tried it, I found it to be both harder then I expected and far more gratifying. Every night I sit down with my notebook and write out one page of things that I am grateful for that day.
Sometimes those things are pretty basic - a new episode of Glee, Shawn doing the laundry - and other times they are far more complex - my health, all that we have, the ability to help those in need - either way, they serve a huge purpose for me. They end my night on a positve note, which helps me let go of worries and doubts and sleep better. They force me to recognize life through a glass-half-full lens, which is something I sometimes struggle with. And they allow me to put my life into perspective in a way that I often don't.
Even during tough times, I force myself to write my list. Some days it seems like an impossible task and I find myself throwing anything onto the page - the new dish soap that doesn't chap my hands, the cat not completely destroying my nylons this week - but I inevitably feel better.
I know that it's not for everyone, but I think it's worth taking a moment to consider that it does work well for some. I am incredibly grateful for my gratitude journal and I hope some of you will try it too. I definitely consider it a great step forward on the road to living a healthy, balanced life!

1 comment:

ChrisOnTheRoad said...

Thanks for the post Krista - it reminds me of having heard an interview with the author of "The Year of Living Biblically", where he talked about the effects of different parts of the project on him. The one that surprised him was the effect of simply thinking about what he was grateful for each day.

Off and on I play with regular gratitude practices, and it's always an interesting exercise.