By Melissa Uhles
With Thanksgiving around the corner, it got me thinking about what I’m grateful for. Each year before tearing into turkey I ask my family to tell us about one thing that they are grateful for. It’s interesting to see that no one’s response is immediate, it takes time for the good stuff to rise to the top of mind sometimes.
It’s so easy to focus on what’s not working in life. As a writer and a mom I get frustrated that things aren’t going the way I wish they would sometimes. So you might wonder, what’s a good remedy for this?
It’s also an activity that’s easy to get your kids involved with. I’m old enough to remember when Oprah starting singing the praises of a gratitude journal, years ago. Admittedly, it took me a few years to get on board with the idea. But I’m glad I did.
You might feel the same way, with so much on your plate, you might wonder if it’s worth the effort. Maybe your to-do list is already overflowing.Just know, it might be worth your while if you consider the benefits for you and your family. According to an article in Harvard Health Publishing, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
According to Amy Morin in Psychology Today “...grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.”
So now that I’ve talked you into starting a gratitude journal with all this scientific research and stuff, what’s next?
All you need is journal or a notebook and your favorite writing implement (crayon, pen, pencil, marker). Spend five minutes writing a list of everything you are grateful for. I’ve noticed that my gratitude journal always includes my favorite food and beverages, telling, I know. Here’s a few more items from my journal:
Another possibility for your gratitude journal is to write with your kids. You could even have them start a gratitude journal too. Now that my son is starting to write short stories for school, I created 16 Writing Activities for Kids. These simple and fun activities will inspire your kiddos to write.
If you write down one or two things that you are grateful for each day for an entire month, I think you’ll be surprised at the results that come from doing something so simple. They say it takes about a month for something to become a natural habit. Some people might even consider the results to be similar to what they feel like after prayer or meditation.
With the cascade of holiday events and busy-ness, I find journaling to be grounding. I hope you’ll be happy with the results as well.
If you are looking for a sweet little journal to get you started, we designed this pocket journal with moms in mind. It says Mom’s Write. Get it? It’s because we love double entendre around here:) It would also make a super stocking stuffer or special gift for the mom friends in your life.
If your gratitude journal inspires you to write more stuff, you might wanna check out our eBook How to Make a Living as a Writer. It will give you the tools to publish blogs, books and articles. It includes a list of over 200 websites and magazines that pay writers for content.
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Have you started a gratitude journal? How did it help you? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.