Did you know that it’s possible to practice being grateful? For some of us being thankful isn’t our natural response to life’s events. Many years ago I started listing three things that I was grateful for at the end of each day. In the beginning, I was writing basic statements like; my husband, the sunset, the feel of the breeze on my face as I go for a walk.
This practice helped me to recall the good things that I could write down to complete my list. One day I heard about adding another step in the gratitude journaling process. It’s important to say what you are grateful for and it’s important to know why!
Adding the statement, ‘the reason I am grateful is’ shifts our focus. It takes us from noticing the event to processing how it affects our life. Which leads to what lesson God wants us to learn. Here’s an example;
Instead of making a gratitude list like this:
Tom’s impact on my life
I began to write it like this:
I am grateful for Tom’s impact on my life. The reason I am grateful is that his presence calms and steadies my thoughts.
When we add the reason why we are grateful it takes our feeling of thankfulness to a deeper level. We can go a step further by adding, ‘this leads me to’. Here’s an example of how that would look in your journal:
I am grateful for Tom’s impact on my life. The reason I am grateful is that his presence calms and steadies my thoughts. This leads me to a sense of clarity and insight and focuses my thoughts so that problem-solving comes easier for me.
Can you see the difference? I am not making a grocery list of things to be thankful for. I am engaging with my feelings as I stop and think about why I am grateful and where that feeling takes me. If you’re brand new to keeping a gratitude journal this is an awesome way to get your practice started. If you have experience keeping a list this method strengthens and enriches gratitude. This month, or this day, is the perfect time to begin!
Let’s Reflect: turn to a fresh page in your journal and start your gratitude practice today. Start with writing down the one thing that you are grateful for. Then make note of your reason why and end with what that leads you to do, feel, or take on.
Let’s Pray: Most gracious and heavenly Father, we are grateful for the breath You put in our lungs. The reason we are grateful is that You alone breathe life into all things. This leads us to find peace, joy, and comfort in Your presence regardless of our circumstances. Help us to take our eyes off us the obstacles we have to overcome and fix our focus on You. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.