18 March, 2015

Cultivating Gratitude

Today we continue our series on journal ideas and tips. You can find my previous entries in the series here.


Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the small things in our life. Sometimes we need to admit that we have allowed cynicism, busyness, obligation, negativity to get too much of a foothold. Sometimes we need to see what is right in front of us to realize how much we have.

There are several ways you can do this.

In November I did a month of gratitude. I took 30 small cards and each day wrote something I was grateful for. They ranged from a good meeting, to time with a friend, safety in travel, or a moment of joy. It was helpful to sit down at the end of the day and think about what happened that day and what I am thankful for.

You can do this daily in your journal. At the end of the day list three things you are grateful for. Get beyond: my husband, my children, and my dog, to specific things that happened that day.

I am grateful for:
1. My fireplace on a chilly day
2. How my husband can make me smile
3. The small steps towards my bigger dream

Gadanke came up with a way to journal your gratitude. She provides a download to help us think more about it.

Using the page from Gadanke, I wrote what I am thankful for and added it to my journal.

Recognizing the good in our lives is the first step towards a more gratitude filled life.

In Own Your Life, Sally Clarkson writes that pursuing gratitude/thankfulness can actually re-write your brain.

Looking for the good, replacing the immediate anger with something else (a mantra, a verse, a word), choosing to engage the positive in all situations, creates a new route for your brain to travel. What will start off being an intentional choice will soon become a habit. You won't get snarky with the other drivers (my downfall), you won't react in anger when something bad happens, you won't rip on your spouse so easily, you won't always see the negative because you have realigned your brain to react differently.

My mantra is: Faith, Truth, Beauty.

That is what I want to see and that is what I want to create. So instead of calling a driver a nasty name, I breathe in and out - Faith, Truth, Beauty. It might sound odd, but I promise it works. It is not denying how we feel, but not letting ourselves get worked up. Because let's be honest, when is the last time raging really did anyone any good?

I want to be someone who finds the beauty in others. I want to be someone who through faith, sees and loves people as Christ did. I want to be someone who lives in the truth that we are all equal to God.

Gratitude is the opposite of anger. It is the opposite of prejudice, hate, and superiority. For when you cultivate a life of gratitude, you become more humble about what you have and desire to pass on what you’ve been given.

 What are you grateful for today?

*In the spirit of full disclosure, these are affiliate links in the post. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.*   

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© Amanda Lunday