Every time that we open our news browser, we are reminded of what is going wrong in the world. With all of the sadness, it’s easy to feel weighed down and burdened. But just as terrible things happen every second of every day, so do good things. There are babies born, couples wedded, new jobs gained, and long-awaited vacations taken. And there are also the little things – kittens cuddled, popcorn eaten, leisurely walks taken…
To balance all of the bad news, consider starting a Gratitude Journal to document life’s little pleasures. All you need is a blank book or journal and a pen. While the idea of journal writing can sound like extra work, by simply listing things that bring you happiness, you can add one or two things without pressure to feel like you have to document every detail of your day.
Just take five minutes when you wake up in the morning or before you go to sleep at night and write out a few things that make you happy. They can be specific things that happened that day like a particularly delicious dinner or coffee date with a friend, or they can be things that are timeless like the sound of your best friend’s laugh or the perfection of The Wizard of Oz.
By taking time to focus on life’s joys, we are reminded to appreciate them and not let the good times slip by unnoticed while the bad news gets all of the press. And in those inevitable moments when you feel burdened by life’s stresses, you can use your Gratitude Journal as a resource to re-focus on the many things that are right with the world.
To give you a few ideas on how to get started, here are 20 things that make me happy:
1. The smell of freshly cut grass.
2. The refreshing bite of cucumber water.
3. Putting on pajamas after a long day.
4. Turning on the radio at just the moment when they start playing my favorite song.
5. Laughing until it hurts.
6. The sound of a cat purring.
7. Walking down the driveway to get the mail.
8. A handwritten letter from a friend.
9. The smell of an old beloved book.
10. Opening the windows after a long winter.
11. Asparagus season.
12. Tacos. Always.
13. The first farmers market of the year.
14. Enjoying a cup of coffee before anyone else is awake, while the house is still.
15. The refreshed exuberance I feel after a hard workout.
16. Coasting down a long hill on a bike ride.
17. Standing on the coastline, watching the waves of the Pacific Ocean.
19. Feeling my bare feet in the grass.
20. The soft, cozy comfort of my favorite sweatshirt.
What would you include in your Gratitude Journal?
Image Credit: Photo by David Busch