Monday, October 9, 2017

Gratitude Journaling

Sometimes life seems to get out of control. In recent weeks we've had natural and man-made disasters aplenty. It gets hard to watch the news or listen to the radio. I've had a number of friends announce breaks from social media because things just seem too heavy to deal with. I get that. I've felt that way myself.

When things seem especially dark for me, I force myself to look around for the light. The good in our world really does outweigh the bad, even if the bad seems to get all the press. Science has even proven that purposefully cultivating a positive outlook can do wonders for your mental health.

One way to help develop positivity is to keep a gratitude journal. Now, you know that I love a good craft project, but I believe so firmly in this concept that I am determined that you will not Pin this on Pinterest and never look at it again!

SO...For this project all you need is a writing implement and a writing surface. You can use the notes app on your phone. You can use a stack of post-its and a pen from under the couch cushions. You can use a spare napkin from the glove compartment and write using a ketchup packet for all I care; just try this! Do it for a week and see how your life will be affected!

I got out my Sunday School notebook and some duct tape. I only decorated it because I needed a pretty picture for my blog post.

Each day take some time to reflect and write down three things that you are grateful for. Some days you are going to be grateful for some really life-altering things. Some days you are going to be grateful that you stepped in the dog poop right as you were coming home instead of when you were leaving the house in the morning (late for something, of course). Your gratefulness does not need to be profound. Most of the time it really isn't. Just train your brain to look for the good in your world and soon that's what your brain will start to find automatically.

We aren't going to stop natural disasters, or terrorism, or even kid meltdowns in the middle of the grocery store. That's not the goal of this exercise. Our goal is to find joy and gratitude in our lives despite natural disasters, terrorists, and meltdowns in the grocery store.

For the record, lately I've been grateful for:
  • the fact that the house was mostly clean before the landlords gave me two day's notice to clear out half the basement so they could fix some leak issues we've been having. Things got cluttered really quickly when I had to bring a bunch of stuff upstairs, but at least it was only one mess, instead of a mess on top of another mess.
  • the fact that I finally caught up on all the laundry...two days before 2/3 of the kids had lice discovered...while the washing machine was out of commission because of the basement work.
  • being able to afford a trip to the laundromat, as well having that be a rare occurrence because normally we are fortunate enough to be able to do laundry in our own home.
  • being able to help a friend who had a mini crisis. I'm finally in a place with my mental health that I could reach out and be useful to someone else who was in need.

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal? Can you vouch for me that it really does improve your outlook on life? Or will you give it a try and just see what happens?

Our Blog with Friends group had a different theme originally. And yet again, world circumstances made a change seem prudent. For October, our theme is Reflection. Head over and see what other things we've been reflecting on!

 Karen of Baking in a Tornado has Sriracha Chipotle Ranch Chicken Nachos. These can be prepped ahead and make a great dinner, snack, or tailgate food.

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade has Brussel Sprout Stir Fry with Spicy Nut/Seed Mix. It's a great side dish for just about any meal!

 Kia of Think in English brings 10 Reasons why Teaching ESL/EFL is the Best Job in the World.

And Lydia of Cluttered Genius reflected on identifying your kids' strengths because all kids are different and they are all good at different things.

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