November seems like the perfect time to share with you about the thankfulness journal that I started a while ago. The concept of writing down the things you are thankful for each day is not new by any means, so I’m not proposing this is something I came up with entirely on my own, but nonetheless it is a wonderful practice and makes a huge difference in ones frame of mind, attitude, and sense of well being.
I have always been an optimistic type of person, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned a time or two before, and it usually comes quite easily for me to see the good in things. I am often delighted and find joy in the very simplest of things, and I believe this has helped me tremendously as I’ve went through various things in my life, some of which have been very difficult. You know how life is…
During times of trouble it’s sometimes a bit harder to find the joy, and what I’ve found is that as I force a shift in my way of thinking, the feelings seem to follow suit. And one of the great ways of doing this is simply to look for things to be grateful for. No matter what the circumstances are or the situation is, there is always something to be thankful for.
For me, just appreciating my five senses gets me every time. All those “simplest” of things I mentioned that I find joy in are usually directly related to something I can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. Our five senses are so easily taken for granted, but if even one of them were to be absent it would make a huge impact in our lives.
One day when I was in a very dark place, I was sitting on my couch, ruminating on all of the horrible things that were going on in my life at that time. Going over the list in my mind and spiraling further into a pit of despair. Completely out of character for me, but it was a difficult time like I said. Anyway, as I was sinking deeper and becoming even more distressed, I happened to notice a candle that was burning nearby, and as I continued to stare at it, very quietly other thoughts started creeping into my mind. I thought of how much I like candles, how warm and comforting they are, how pleasant the aroma of the wax is, as I watched the flame flickering I thought about the nice ambiance lighting candles give off. And slowly a shift, I began feeling thankful. Thankful for the light, the warmth, and the aroma of that candle, and then for the eyes to see, the nose to smell, and on it went. Before long, I was feeling better, more positive thoughts and things I was grateful for came to mind, and with them little flickers of hope like the flickering of the candle’s flame. Slowly I began to realize that what I was going through was only temporary, that it won’t always be that way, that “this too shall pass.” No idea where that quote is from, it’s just something my dad used to say.
And so it goes… shifting your way of thinking, and being grateful even for the simplest thing, like a candle, can lift your spirits and help put the things in your life into a better perspective.
I don’t usually have a problem finding things to be grateful for, it’s quite often the exact opposite for me, so in my case with my thankfulness journal I wanted to slow it down and really focus on just one thing each day, to take the time to give that one thing enough attention to allow it to fully sink in. And to write about it in detail in a special journal reserved only for that type of contemplation gives it, gives me even a deeper sense of appreciation.
So today amidst the regular mundane, the chaos, or the pain, I encourage you to find something to be grateful for. Just one thing. Write it down, ruminate over it, and see how much better you feel…
“Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there is always something we could be grateful for.”
~ Barry Neil Kaufman
What are you grateful for?