1 Year of Gratitude Journaling and how it’s changed my perspective on everything!
This November, marked one whole year of Gratitude journaling. During this time, I have seen so many mental, spiritual and even physical changes in myself, and I believe they’re down to this simple activity.
It all began with a meltdown in my car, and a very impromptu intervention. My incredible auntie and my amazing support network dropped a bomb on me that I didn’t quite know how to absorb.
“A privileged life had ill equipped me for seeing the beauty in the every day.”
I was told that I needed more gratitude in my life, and the ability to look forward and be content with what ever was planned for me. This struck me, because gratitude is so finely woven into my faith that I couldn’t understand how I had missed such a critical element.
Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for my family, the roof over my head, running water at arms reach and all the other cliché things we are told to appreciate but never really understand the gravity of. A privileged life had ill equipped me for seeing the beauty in every day and cherishing it whole-heartedly.
HOW IT BEGAN
That night, I picked one of my empty journals from my shelf and began writing a simple gratitude journal. Everyday at the end of the night, I would sit down and rack my brain for 3 things that had been good about my day.
To say it was difficult, would be a huuuge understatement. I struggled, so much. That first week, it took me half an hour to see something good in my day. I was looking for 3 small points and I kept coming up blank. This is when I realised…they were right. The filter in which I saw my days and subsequently my entire life was one of complete ingratitude.
Every day was difficult in my opinion and everyday day had something to be miserable about. Often one of my 3 points would read ‘Tea’ because honestly that was the highlight of my day. ☹
Seeing and understanding the error of my way, I persevered. I spent as long I needed to sift my brain and come up with those 3 points.
In December, I noticed something really strange. The process of racking my brain for positive points in my day, was a lot quicker and way less painful than before. Things would just kind of come to me without me having to search. It seemed to me, that the filter in which I saw things was shifting slightly, and I was less in tune with the negative and more preceptive of the positive. It was a welcome change!
People around me began to see a difference in me, my conversation was tinged with a slight hue of possibility and my body language was a little bit braver.
“For the first time in my life, I could honestly say I was slightly excited about the future. How could this all be from a small activity at the end of my day?”
For the first time in my life, I could honestly say I was slightly exited about the future. How could this all be from a small activity at the end of my day?
In December 2019, I had seen such a shift in my mind that I was so inspired to create something to show my excitement for the year ahead and all the things I wanted to achieve. (Little did we know that God had other plans!)
So, I created a vision board for the year 2020, with all the exciting things I wanted to do, and even that feeling of being excited, excited me because it was sooooo new! Clearing up my mental space lead me to want to clean my physical space, so I made plans to decorate my bedroom.
It was achievable and it was going to make my lifestyle more organised and less chaotic. But the biggest factor was that I motivated to do it.
I kid you not, I went from black carpet and dark walls, to bright and vibrant white walls and shiny laminate flooring. For the first time in years, I opened the blinds for my room and let the light in. it was just so symbolic, I could believe it. It truly felt like my life had become illuminated.
Just as I’d promised myself, I organised and cultivated each space in my room to cater for my lifestyle, and اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ. Alhumdulilah Praise be to god…It feels amazing.
HOW ITS GOING
I may sound like a broken record, but I can’t recommend this process enough. When I come across someone who emanates that negative and self-limiting filter that I had (and sometimes still have, time of the month much!) I want to hug them and tell them that its not the end, its so easy to change and you are capable of anything you can envision, just as my Oprah-like aunty did for me exactly 1 year ago.
Now, this small routine at the end of my day has become a staple for me, and it’s something I do instinctually as opposed to forcefully, because I know how much better my day-to-day life is with this routine in place.
“Not every day is good, but there is good in everyday”
The biggest shift that I have found is that, I don’t wait until the end of the day to consider all the good that happened. Now, because I’ve spent so long trying to re-programme my brain to see the positive, I see it as it happens in live motion!
Someone may say something kind, or do something delightful or just give some great advice and instantly I think, ‘That is so amazing! – I’ll totaly write about that later’. So, I’m seeing everyone around me through that lens, and it truly is so wonderful. I don’t struggle to write 3 points any more, in fact, I struggle to fit all my points on the page and cram them on where ever I can!
This is the nature of abundant thinking. The more you endeavour to see the good, the more it will present itself. Likewise with negative thinking, the more crap you look for, the more you’ll see. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
Now I can honestly say I live by the saying ‘Not every day is good, but there is good in everyday’.