Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Happiness Series: 11 - Happiness Exercise 1: Grattitude Journal

What Are You Grateful For?

Imagine, if you can, that everything you weren’t grateful for today, was gone tomorrow.

Imagine if you forgot to say you were grateful for clean water, tomorrow all your tap water and stored beverages would be tainted with sewerage.

Imagine if you forgot to say you were grateful for your partner, tomorrow you would be single.

Imagine if you forgot to say you were grateful to live in a free, fair country, you would end up somewhere war-torn and desperate.

When you really start to think about all the things you could lose, you realize how much you have to be grateful for. Maybe you live in a shitty house, but its better than being homeless. Maybe you hate catching the bus, but its better than walking. Maybe you hate HECS debt, but its better than having no education.

I am sure if you were going to lose EVERYTHING you didn’t say you were grateful for today, you would dedicate the entire day to being grateful to every little thing. Water, air, food, family, friends, roads, even taxes.

As you know, we tend to compare our lives to media and other people. We see the thing they have, that we don’t. So we forget about the things we have. We can’t see how lucky we are.

This Exercise Aims To Address That

Studies repeatedly show gratitude makes us happier. Maybe it seems petty or stupid to you, but the point remains. Grateful people are happier than you, and will continue to be. Swallow your pride and get on the gratitude train already, you’ll be grateful you did.

You Will Need:

1. A pen
2. A fancy notebook you love touching and writing in
3. 10 minutes you set aside every morning or evening

On the first page, write YOUR NAME’S GRATITUDE JOURNAL

Start on the next page by dating the top of the page and writing 3-5 things you are grateful for today.

Every day, write the date at the top, and write 3-5 more things. For as long as possible, try not to double up. You might also like to score your mood out of ten at the bottom of every page.

As an experiment, swear to keep your journal every day for at least two months. If you have a crappy day, you’re miserable, or you’re feeling like you have nothing good in your life, go through your gratitude journal and read all the entries.

At the end of two months, assess how you feel. Do you feel better? Did your mood score average go up? Are you more aware of the things around you that are good now? Are you less jealous of other people?

For me, having a gratitude journal has added nothing but positivity to my life. I tend to do it first thing in the morning, so I start the day with something positive.  It only take a few minutes, tops.

You don’t have to use a journal. There are also a lot of fantastic gratitude apps. Zest is my favorite, but I am sure if you search in the app store, you will find plenty to try out.

Its most important that it be easy and accessible, not aesthetically pleasing. The easier and more accessible it is, the more likely you are to do it.

Moving Forward

This is the first of six exercises designed to help you improve your overall happiness. I hope you will try them all and I hope you will have the same sort of results I did. I’m not suggesting anything I haven’t done, or don’t do, which hasn’t helped me. So I know they work… at least they work for me.

Jake, In Summary:

To be 100% honest, I haven’t been keeping my gratitude journal as regularly as I used to. Someone very close to me died, and I was so broken-hearted, I couldn’t face any sort of positivity. I started to think I would never be positive again. A lot of my good habits fell by they wayside, and this was one of them.

However now my heart is mending and its time for me to pick up the gratitude journal once more. So today also starts the first day of my enforced habit forming two months of gratitude journaling. So if you like, you and I can start together.

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