How My Gratitude Journal Has Changed The Way I Approach Life

 

Senior year of high school is filled with many stressors.  On top of keeping up with all the assignments in your AP classes, college applications force you to master a type of writing and articulation you were never taught.  Even thinking about the Common App brings on a headache and you and your friends turn to each other as you feel a breakdown coming your way. Having friends to find comfort in is essential but more often than not these conversations quickly turn into a competition to see who has the most to complain about.  Lunchtime talks consist of listing all the negative things going on in your life and you rarely walk away feeling uplifted and ready to face the rest of your day.

(photo from PIXELS)

Whether you are in high school, college or beyond, you probably participated in some form of this interaction recently.  When the conversation starts to die down it is only a matter of seconds before someone brings up the rude comment made to them as they walked down the stairs or how they didn’t wake up in time to get coffee.  While these comments may seem like conversation fillers at the time, looking back, they are what you remember about your day. Luckily, there is an easy way to change how you remember your days and ultimately change your outlook on your life: a gratitude journal.

(photo from PIXABAY)

My journey with my gratitude journal began with a simple app in which I was given a prompt to reflect on and then told to write four “amazing things” about my day.  Getting into the habit took time but eventually reflecting on my day became the final step in my evening routine. Finding four good things about my day was not always easy and sometimes I would really have to look for good things that happened.  Some days an amazing thing would be an unexpected smile as I walked down the hallway and other days it would be a hilarious conversation I had with my sister in the car. Whatever it was I began to consistently go to bed with a smile on my face.

(photo from PEXELS)

Since starting my daily gratitude in December, I have moved to handwrite my amazing things and then taking the next few lines to talk about my day.  The change in my life was not immediate or drastic but I now often find myself stopping throughout the day and remembering all the good things that have happened.  Perhaps the biggest change I have noticed in the nature of the conversations I have with my friends. Rather than filling the silence with a negative thought, I now chime in with something like, “Today, this guy held the door open for me when I had a package in my hand,” and everyone’s face lights up and begins to talk about something good that happened in their day.  

Keeping a gratitude journal also allows me to look back at the past weeks and months and remember things I definitely would have forgotten if I had not written them down.  An entry from a little over a month ago read, “I picked my sister up and we actually got along really well today.” Now, I don’t remember what we had been bickering about previously but reading that made me truly appreciate how well my sister and I get along and how lucky I am to have a friend like her in my life.  Keeping a gratitude journal requires diligence and intrinsic motivation but I have found that the joy it has brought to my life makes the time more than worth it.