A Day in a Life of Gratitude: An Exercise

At first, I thought it was silly.  I knew I had a great life and I didn’t think keeping a Gratitude Journal or having an “Attitude of Gratitude would make any difference.

So if you were thinking the same thing after reading my post last week, I don’t blame you.

I’d tried several times to start a Gratitude Journal, but that intimidating blank sheet of paper stared at up me every night. I couldn’t take the pressure. 😀

Usually I was too tired to think, couldn’t think of anything, or I felt like I was writing the same things over and over: health, family, husband, dogs, blah blah blah.

The big things are important, yes. But those little things that go unnoticed in your day really have Big Power to change your perception. Most of these moments end up as fleeting thoughts running through your head with everything else that day.

A common thread in every book I’ve read, whether it be Joel Osteen, Dr. Wayne Dyer or the Bible is that if you want more of the good things, you need to be grateful for everything you have now.

I find that I have greater success in any endeavor if I start by taking small steps forward, because we all know that progress, even slow, is still progress.

My first baby step was noticing these moments and acknowledging them with a simple “Thank you God!” (Of course you can modify this to fit your personal beliefs.)

To demonstrate the power of this exercise, I chose a random day to write down every Gratitude Moment as I experienced it in a small notebook I always carry in my purse.

As it happened I picked the perfect day: I was cranky.

I want to be very clear: you can STILL be cranky and grateful and positive at the same time. I do not enjoy being cranky, and certainly no one else in my family does either! 😉

The beauty of this whole exercise is that at some point you realize you have so many little things to be grateful for that you aren’t cranky anymore.

If you’re having a rough day or a difficult time, this exercise is even more important. It’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts and forget there are good things that happen too.

So here’s what else happened that day:

  1. There was a beautiful, hushed quiet of falling snow outside in the darkness of 1 a.m. (I had a foster dog who needed to go out or I would have missed this moment of peacefulness!)
  2. My yard was a winter wonderland in the early morning daylight. The dusting of snow on everything including the trees was gorgeous.
  3. I love the way my Yoga class stretches my body, increases my flexibility and hushes my thoughts.
  4. The shop office had a cleanly swept floor and I appreciated my husband sweeping it for me.
  5. I parked in the very first non-handicapped parking space at Walmart!
  6. My lunch plate made an unexpected beautiful and colorful presentation.
  7. The excellence of a single piece of decadence in a single piece of dark, rich soft chocolate with mint.
  8. The heated towels of the body wrap softened my sore muscles and skilled hands of my massage therapist worked the kinks out. What a special treat!
  9. I noticed the sun’s rays peeking through the clouds on my way home. It was such a contrast to the clouds above it!
  10. I received great news after a routine medical test.
  11. It feels SO good to come home at the end of the day, turn on all the lights and light a good-smelling candle. And it was Friday!
  12. I didn’t have to go out in the cold anymore that day!
  13. My handmade pottery soup bowls I’ve collected over the last couple of years at a local arts fair looked so pretty holding a bowl of my husband’s homemade chili.
  14. It felt so good climbing into bed blissfully early into freshly laundered flannel sheets and a heated mattress pad.

As I read over this list, I don’t even remember that I began the day tired and crabby. I read this now thinking what a really awesome and blessed day it was. And it’s all because of a simple little gratitude exercise.

We all have a choice: we can choose to remember the challenges, or to look at and appreciate the special moments in our day that might be lost otherwise.

Give it a shot and see if it works for you.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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