Give Thanks for Gratitude…

16 May

Give Thanks for gratitude.

Does that sound like I’m running out of ideas?  Au contrare!

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  Failing to write & post was on my mind.   It caused blog topics to fall like rain.  This morning, I had to decide which raindrop to use.  That got me thinking about how and why I developed “gratitude” in the first place.  It’s a story that begins many years ago.  I was unhappy and puzzling over how to feel better.  Others were too; I know because Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book “Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” was all the rage (1995-ish).  It was my first “self-help” book and was written just for me.  It had to have been, who else in this world has my same thoughts and problems?  Oh yeah, almost everyone.   Anyway, I read the book and followed many of the suggestions but was “too busy” to write the gratitude journal that Sarah insists on.  MY total loss!  I skipped over the most important exercise.

Recently, I revisited “Simple Abundance” to see if it still is “all that and a bag of chips.”   Other self-help books I’ve read have been intense, scholarly or philosophical.  So, I noticed how soft, sweet and personal Sarah’s writing is and how perfect it is for a “first” self-help book.  This time though, I did follow Sarah’s instructions to write 5 things I’m grateful for every day.  I was diligent and it paid off!

The first couple weeks of writing were easy because I was grateful for family, good health, food, friends… you know, easily noticed stuff.  After that, determined not to repeat myself, I had to give gratitude some extra thought. Daily, I found myself looking for what I would write in my journal that night.  Ah-Ha!  “That’s It Charlie Brown!”  said Lucy from her roadside psychiatry booth.  That’s the way a gratitude journal works, it teaches awareness.  It sends you on a daily treasure hunt looking for what there is to be grateful for.   Then, if you do it long enough, almost everything becomes something to be grateful for, even the tough stuff.  What I’m passing on here is that a faithfully written gratitude journal can increase your happiness.

“…Psychologists say it’s almost impossible to feel grateful and unhappy at the same time.” *   Gratitude, “it’s a good thing.”  Right Martha?

Hugs, Sonja

photo: SAK’s gratitude journal and Simple Abundance book.

* Alex Green quoted from his newsletter, which I posted earlier.

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