It’s the perfect time to start, or renew, your gratitude journal.
The concept is simple: There’s beauty and pleasure all around us, but we often don’t notice it or get enough enjoyment out of it, because we’re focused on all our pressures and problems.
Keeping a gratitude journal gets us to:
- Change our focus and scan our environment for pleasures, not problems.
- Notice and savor the good things, spend more time enjoying them.
- Indulge in their details by describing them in writing.
- Hold on to them by recording them.
I began actively retraining my focus in this manner many years ago, so that by now I automatically notice simple pleasures I dare say most people do not.
The other day I was tutoring in a home where the window was open and a lovely soft breeze was flowing through.
My student was working on her algebra with impressive commitment and interest.
A friendly cat entered the room and jumped in my lap.
On the side table was a beautiful, ornately delicate antique brass and crystal lamp, with one of those clunky new “pigtail” fluorescent bulbs screwed into it; the incongruity made me smile.
I took a sheet of looseleaf paper and wrote all these observations down, and when the harried, stressed-out mom returned I shared them with her. It got her started, and she’s doing a list of Twenty Daily Treasures every day now, so as to catch more of those small, lovely moments.
Another woman told me that by keeping a daily list, she notices the ways her husband helps and participates, and is less focused on the ways he falls short.
I am good at noticing lovely things, but I’m resolving to do a better job of then sharing them, because appreciation is even better when it’s spread around or reflected back.
The other day I eavesdropped as my daughter tutored a student in French; the sound of those young voices pronouncing the lessons was enchanting. And I said so! Why keep my delight to myself?
Do you keep a gratitude journal?
Can you imagine any other ways to heighten your awareness of the beauty and pleasure in your environment?