A few weeks ago we were in the Addiction Recovery Program meeting and while an individual was sharing his thoughts on his recovery with the group he asked us the question, “Do you keep a gratitude journal?” I found that to be an interesting question. Originally I thought, “I do keep a journal, not every day, but often. Why do I need a second journal? I already record thoughts in it that are sometimes thoughts of gratitude.”
After pondering that thought for a while, I realized, maybe I do need to keep a second journal. It certainly couldn’t hurt to write only what I’m grateful for. It could even help with my evening meditation (which I tend to struggle with because I’m usually tired and just want to sleep). Then scientist in me took over and I thought, “I’ll do an experiment! Even if I don’t like it I’ll learn something.”
As I wrote in it (probably 4-5 days a week) I found that I did enjoy it. Looking back on those first few days I was primarily writing about what “I” was thankful for. Not really a surprise since selfishness is at the root of our addiction and doing what came naturally ended up doing what was mostly for myself. But once I was aware of that, I found the contents of my gratitude journal writing started to shift towards what others were doing for me, and finally towards what was going on around me or what people did for one another. I still have some things that directly impact me that I’m grateful for but I find that I’m a lot more balanced between myself and others in how I view each day I live.
If you’re struggling with resentment, anger, self-pity, or any other strong emotional burden, may I suggest that you too start a Gratitude journal? Grab a notebook, a brand new journal, or even a few sheets of paper. Write what you are most grateful for from your day and begin to shape a new positive habit in your life. Who knows? You might really like it! And it may help you stop looking inward and start looking outward more. This will definitely help you see others first and wish to help them out before you help yourself.
I’m grateful for the individual who shared the idea to write a personal gratitude journal. I’m thankful it helps me to see the amazing good in my life, and to be able to recognize and appreciate my family even more 🙂
My name is Mike