From Journalution by Sandy Grason... Chapter 7, the section on Gratitude (pgs. 144-147)... Enjoy!
When you slow down long enough to notice the details around you, you will be awed by the beauty and abundance in the world. This is a good time to express your thankfulness for all that you have and all that you are going to create in your life. Keeping a Gratitude Journal is nothing more than writing down a few things each day that you are grateful for, yet this practice holds magical powers.
Here's a way to change your perspective faster than anything you've ever seen. Keep a journal on your nightstand. Each night before nodding off, write the numbers one through five vertically on a page, then fill in the blanks with things you're grateful for. You will begin to look for things throughout your day to write down. This practice shifts your focus away from what is wrong in life to what is right and beautiful and kind in the world.
Another way to do this is to keep a journal in the kitchen and jot down a few things from the day before as you sip your first cup of coffee in the morning. This is a lovely ritual for beginning your day on a positive note. I guarantee that if you set your alarm for ten minutes early and do this, you will have a better day.
You can also carry a pocket journal around with you, small enough to fit into a purse, briefcase, or jacket pocket. As you go through your day, jot down inspirations and wonderful things as they happen: the children waving from the car next to you in traffic, the smell of freshly baked bread as you pass the bakery on the way to work, the newly paved expressway, the fact that your car started this morning, looking up from your work and discovering it's almost time to go home.
Once you get going, gratitude will overflow from your journal because there are always so many things to be grateful for. Therein lies the magic of expressing gratitude in your journal. It connects you to a state of appreciation that spills over into everything you do and experience. It inspires you to view your life from a state of grace, rather than a state of lack.
Nancy, a workshop participant and a mother of three, told me that she usually journals when she's angry or upset; most of her journal entries "probably leave me looking like quite a mess, with out-of-control kids and a crappy husband." But Nancy's journal began to look different when she started writing down what she was grateful for:
"I am sitting here tonight, and my babies are sleeping peacefully. The windows are open and the breeze is blowing the cutains, and I feel like the luckiest person alive. They are so precious, like little angels, turly. I yelled to much today. Poor Hannah, she's been such a little terror. I look at her sleeping, and all that other stuff just melts away. I am so blessed. - So tonight here's what I am thankful for: my children sleeping sweetly while I have a moment to myself, cool winter nights and breezy curtains, my handyman husband, spaghetti dinners 'cause they're so easy, and my mom who made me laugh today with her goofy self."
When you use gratitude in your journals, your heart will gradually open to the world around you. This will also help you connect you with your creativity, and eventually with your intuition and inner wisdom.
Try This - Seven Minutes In Heaven
Take the next seven minutes and write down at least seven things you feel grateful for. It will shift your mood immediately. Now see if you can keep this up for seven days. It doesn't matter when you do this - morning, noon, or night. Just try for seven days to gather seven things to write down. It's only seven days; if you miss a day, just keep going. Start right there in the moment when you notice something you're grateful for, and jot it down. Right that second! Don't beat yourself up for forgetting to write sooner; just move forward with your gratitude. You can write, "I'm so grateful I remembered to do this," and keep going with your day.
Some days it may feel like the only thing to be grateful for is that the day is over. That's okay, too. It won't be long before you notice the shifts - a slight feeling of lightness as you wake up, a bounce in your step, smiling at strangers. These are some of the little ways in which gratitude can seep into your day. There is no wrong way to do this. Just have fun, make it a game, and see what happens.