“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” – Cicero
Last week, I stumbled upon this post about gratitude. Although it seems a hot topic – you can now find apps to help you express gratitude and gratitude journals may be found in every bookstore – the post reminded me of the benefits of paying attention to the things you’re thankful for. Lots has been written on gratitude and the power of positive thought. This is the wikipedia-page on gratitude (and it doesn’t mention Oprah Winfrey!); apparently scholars have been studying gratitude and its religious conceptions for centuries.
It’s not a cure for all unhappiness. Let’s not exaggerate. If you suffer from a depression, a gratitude journal is hardly going to make you feel instantly better and cure your illness. But I do believe it’ll help if you’re feeling a bit down and don’t seem to see the positive things in life.
I’ve kept a gratitude journal on and off and find it very helpful. Usually, after just a few days, I look at the world differently. Because I want to write something in my journal the next evening, I begin to look for things around me that are special. This something special can be found in almost anything. I start to see the beauty in cloud formations, the cobwebs in the grass and smile at some little bird sitting along the road.
I never keep it up though; although I love the positive attitude keeping such a journal gives me, I always stop writing after a few weeks. I go to bed too late to write in my journal, the next day I forget, after that I think I don’t need it, because I feel great and then I quit. I mostly feel bad for quitting, but maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. It’s not about keeping a journal for 365 days a year. Apparently I use the tool when I need it, and that’s most important.
Do you keep a gratitude journal?