Jerry Seinfeld in an interview with Andrew Denton some years ago now was talking about one strategy he had to practice gratitude and to continuously celebrate the many joys of life. He was in a café and was enjoying a cup of coffee when he turned to other patrons in the café and said “Have you had the coffee? This is great coffee. You should try the coffee.” His point was sometimes (often?) we tend to place apathy ahead of mindful appreciation and recognition of all that is good in our worlds.
I haven’t always kept a gratitude journal, in fact, it’s a relatively new practice for me. However, the amount of research that strongly recommends the positive benefits of keeping a gratitude journal became so prevalent in my continual research into what it really takes to live a happy, flourishing and prosperous life, that I could not avoid it any longer.
I’m excited to report how much I look forward now to my weekly entries into my gratitude journal.
Now, for the pragmatists and cynics who probably have just rolled their eyes thinking this sounds a bit ‘soft’ and a waste of time, all I can say is science says you’ve got a lot to gain and nothing to lose in at least giving it a go, and as I’ve said above, I’m certainly finding real and positive benefits – and I see myself as a fairly practical ‘no fluffy stuff’ kind of person.
At the start of my gratitude journal I have a page dedicated to my list of what I’m grateful for in my relationship with Liz and another for each of my sons. I’ve pasted in pictures of them as a strong visual reminder as well. From there it’s a bunch of random entries as I started my gratitude journal and now it’s like a weekly review of gratitude for what I’m experiencing.
For example, this week, one entry I made was how grateful I am for a dining experience at the Ginger Boy Restaurant in Melbourne. Every dish was an incredible burst of flavour and joy. So I jumped on the we, grabbed a printout of the menu and pasted it in the journal. I made a note of the date and who I ate with.
Here’s my point…
Although I might at some stage in the future be flicking back through my journal(s) and land on this page, the reality is I probably won’t ever re-visit the entry at all. However, the practice of mindful gratitude through the discipline (albeit flexibly casual in my approach to recording) helps to keep me reminded, just like Jerry Seinfeld does, to remember to put intentional appreciation and gratitude ahead of apathetic and habitual existence.
Scientific research tells us that being grateful in our lives is a key to well-being… while a gratitude journal might sound a bit laborious, it’s the little disciplines that we intentionally practice that will help us live more happy, flourishing and prosperous lives.