the gratitude journal

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If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
Meister Eckhart (1260-1327) German theologian, philosopher and mystic.

I would hazard a guess that it’s near impossible for anybody to exist in a perpetual state of gratitude. Permanently grateful for everything in their lives. As with other positive habits, we are influenced by loads of external and internal factors. There are the negative attitudes and moods of those around us, which can deflate even the most positive souls. It’s also easy to get caught up in thoughts of what we do and don’t have. Or perhaps what we think we need to make ourselves happy.

But it’s the gratitude which makes ‘the happy’.

Quite a while ago I started to notice a buzz of people talking about gratitude journals. It sounded like an interesting concept, but for some reason the idea didn’t gain enough momentum for me to actually write one. But as with all messages you are meant to hear, it just kept coming…and about a month ago, I started one.

I completely plagiarised the journal style I chose, by researching the best ideas of those who came before me. Instead of writing a detailed journal, I just write one sentence which encompasses the main feeling or sense I have of the day. It could be just a word. (exhausted!) Then I think about, and list 5 things which I’m grateful for. It’s very simple, and yet it really focuses my thoughts onto all of the things both great and small, which I spend so much of my life taking for granted.

Once you start, it’s actually hard to stop feeling positive because appreciation grows more appreciation. And because a diary is in hard copy, my thankful thoughts are triggered again and again every time I turn a page. It isn’t just a random thought of “gee I’m so lucky to be able to…or experience…” It’s a constant reminder, and it feels really good.

For me (and millions of others I’m sure) Pooh Bear epitomises simplicity and gratitude…

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you eat it which is better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called. A.A. Milne

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