When my grandma moved into the nursing home earlier this year I stumbled across one of her journals. "What is this," I asked. "Oh that's my gratitude journal," she answered so matter of fact. I had no idea she had kept a journal and it was an even bigger surprise that this journal started more than twenty years earlier. She started to read aloud some of her entries over the years. Entries that ranged from the day they sold their house, to babysitting us girls, to the day my grandpa had open heart surgery, any death, any birth, and any trip, and so on and so on. I was amazed that she had kept this kind of document of our lives for all these years.
Flipping through this journal was so special for me. Real talk- my grandma hasn't struggled with the same level of anxiety like the rest of my family. Most of the time when I am talking to her and walking her through my roller coaster thought process she will always say to me, "you are just like your grandfather." Or better yet, "you are just like your father." I one day asked her, "don't you ever feel anxious?" To which she replied, "No, you all worry enough for me. And what's there to be anxious about?" Which I immediately had plenty of answers for but kept them to myself. If you know my grandma you know she is not one to sugar coat anything. She says what is on her mind and then some. So reading her journal gave me such great perspective. As a family of worriers it was so interesting to read how she felt during those times.
I love the idea of a gratitude journal. Hers was filled with over twenty years of writing a few things that she was grateful for each day. It's something I am trying to do more of in my day to day life. One year for Christmas my aunt gave my sisters and I happiness journals to write a sentence every day for five years. I absolutely loved it and still give my sisters a hard time for never completing theirs. It is something I still go back at and read from time to time. It was helpful for me to look back year after year on what I was feeling in that moment. And it was a really good reminder that even in the days where I was stressed, or going through a break up, or just not feeling like myself, it always got better. The rain never lasted as long as I thought it would.
So who's with me on starting a gratitude journal? My goal is to try and write down things I am grateful for a few times a week. I am asking you to submit a few things you are grateful for in my message box (found on my about me page). I would love to be able to share some of my entries, as well as yours, for upcoming gratitude posts on An Anxious Millennial. It can be totally anonymous! Also, I found a great article that highlights the benefits of a gratitude journal and how to maintain one. Sharing the main points below but also linking the article if you want to read further.
Benefits of a Gratitude Journal
1. Lower stress levels.
2. Feel calm at night.
3. Gain a new perspective of what is important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life.
4. By noting what you are grateful for, you will gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut from you life.
5. Helps you focus on what really matters.
6. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you learn more about yourself and become more self-aware.
7. Your gratitude journal is a safe zone for your eyes only, so you can write anything you feel without judgment.
8. On days when you feel blue, read back through your gratitude journal to readjust your attitude and remember that you have great people and things in your life.
Let's do this!