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An Attitude of Gratitude

November is the month of giving thanks, and what better time to start making gratitude a part of your daily routine? 

Life is tough, and we often feel bogged down by the demands of the day, whether it be work, family, social, financial, etc.  It is so easy to lose sight of what is good in our lives, and to focus instead on what is wrong or what we wish we had.  Some struggles or hardships we face are out of our control, and ultimately, the only thing we have the ability to control is ourselves.  This is a wonderful tool to practice slowing down.  Being present.  Living in the moment.  Being mindful.  Going about our day with intention.

What is a gratitude journal?

Say goodbye to the days of “Dear Diary, Jimmy said hi to me, it was awesome”, and say hello to the gratitude journal.  Gaining popularity in the field of positive psychology, the gratitude journal is a mindfulness technique which focuses on the positive.  It is a nightly (and also can be done in the morning) activity that allows for reflection of the day, focus on memorable moments and acknowledging what you feel grateful for.  The idea is that more gratitude = more happiness.  Oprah has been doing this for decades, so it must be good, right?

What do I write?

Keeping a gratitude journal can be as simple as writing down one thing you are grateful for each night before you go to sleep, or selecting from the many prompt-filled gratitude journals currently on the market.  I love Calm the Chaos, by Nicola Ries Taggart, because the thoughtful prompts are easy to follow, making the activity accessible to anyone.  Prompts include self-care activities, acts of kindness done for others, memorable moments from the day, and intentions, goals, and mantras for tomorrow.

Why should we do it?

Because Oprah says so!  Just kidding (kind of).  Here are just some of the many benefits of incorporating this practice into your daily routine:

-shift from negative to positive thinking, focus on the positives of your day

-remembering what you have in your life that you feel thankful for

-focus on the simple parts of life that bring you happiness

-improved quality of relationships

-improved sleep

-setting goals for the following day allows you to begin your day with intention, and shift your focus to that intention throughout the day

-improved productivity and focus

How does having an attitude of gratitude make you feel?