Practice # 11: Read your journal to increase your awareness of gratitude. The beauty of keeping a gratitude journal is it provides an ongoing record of what meant enough to you that you wrote it in your journal. Noticing what made your list gives you the opportunity to reflect on the range of things for which you feel gratitude and the ones that routinely appear on the list.
Who’s on your list?
Loved ones will consistently appear on your list. Notice if you wrote anything specific about them. You may have been particularly grateful for your partner’s patience with you on a bad day, or that they made you coffee in the morning. You feel grateful for the huge hug your child gave you that made you feel loved. The friend who made you laugh or the colleague who helped you with a project might be on your list. See who shows up. You might have written you were grateful for a new person you met who you realize several months later has become an important person in your life.
Things on the list
You’ll be grateful for things other than individuals. Some days seemingly small things that brought you happiness might appear on your list. You might be grateful simply to be mobile and alive. When we notice the difficult time others may be facing, we feel grateful for all the blessings in our lives.
Notice the unexpected
We enjoy reading the unexpected things that appear in our journals. “Rain” showed up on our list after a long drought. Just feeling the rain on our skins and the coolness in the air gave us tremendous gratitude. We thought of what rain meant for the availability of drinking water, for irrigation for food and replenishing the rivers where the salmon run. “Insurance” showed up on our list after a car accident, and “electricity” made an appearance after a power outage. None of these are things we would normally give any thought to, but taking those few moments at the end of the day to reflect allowed us to increase our awareness of how many things we have to be grateful for.
As you keep your gratitude journal, take time to read and reflect on your entries. You might find some delightful surprises.