Be Grateful and Be Happy

I don’t recall what it was that got me started with the habit, but I know I’ve got lots of company in quiet personal spaces all over the globe with one of my nightly rituals; ending my day with my gratitude journal.

It’s not an original idea, but when I had heard about the practice it had sounded so compelling and so simple:

Sit down at some quiet moment each and every day, and write down your list of the five things you were most grateful for that day. Relish just knowing that you had good in your life, and that no matter the other complications of the day, you did in fact have things that made it all worthwhile.

Yesterday, I dropped everything in the middle of my day, and jumped in my car to meet a girlfriend for an impromptu lunch that lasted three hours. It was something we both needed I suppose. So last night I happened to be thinking about entrepreneurship, and how I can now have 3-hour lunches pretty much whenever I want, and I wrote:

I am so grateful that I finally am self-employed, and that this life of the solopreneur has been the end result of so many years in corporate life.

Yet I am so grateful for all those years in corporate life, for they taught me so much, mostly how to do this right, and how to appreciate it.

I am so grateful for the customers I have, for my customers now always become my friends. I value my friendships now more than I ever have before.

I am grateful for my health, that I am able to do all I now do, and pretty much when I want to do it. My health has been a constant gift I cannot take for granted.

I am grateful for Christine, and that out of all the friends I know she has, she called me today.

Five seems to be a magic number with this, a just-right number. There were times when I tried to see how long I could make my list, but then it became an entirely different experience. With just five things I reflect on each one more, and I realize that I really don’t need too much else to make me happy.

And don’t be fooled by my entries last night: it’s not because I’ve already had a pretty long life and have come to some great results like the benefits of entrepreneurship; more often my list of five things is much simpler. This was what I’d written just two nights before

I am grateful for Marmee (my mom) and how I can always count on the way she answers my phone calls with such cheer and joy, infecting my day.

I am grateful it is so easy for me to wash my own car now because it’s smaller and newer and it doesn’t take as long. I don’t miss my Jeep Cherokee anymore.

I am grateful that reading magazines is still such a tactile experience for me. Despite all the free articles you can get online I’ll still buy magazines because of the pictures, because of being able to turn pages, and because I can clip from them with such abandon and they’re cheap.

I am so so glad that Kerwin (my husband) is such a great cook, and I’m not. As long as he keeps cooking I’ll keep doing the dishes and count my blessings.

I am grateful Kerwin likes to buy magazines just as much as I do. Who’d have thought I’d actually read Sports Illustrated every so often and like it?

I like to write in my gratitude journal right before I go to bed every night, for no matter what happened that day, I go to bed happy. It puts everything in the right perspective. It helps me realize I don’t need all that much to be happy, and that most of the things which give me the most joy are things I already have – like family, friends, my work, my health, and my own attitude about everything else.

If you feel the need to be happier, try it: Start your own gratitude journal. Writing in mine takes me less than 5 minutes each night and gives me a good night’s sleep the whole night through.

I promise you, it works wonders. Be grateful, and be happy.

Tell you what, you can try it right here. Count your blessings tonight and write your list in the comments, or pick up this trackback: http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/3716371
I can just imagine the boundless joy and gratitude we have right here in our Ho‘ohana Community.

Related posts:

Mahalo; We give thanks. Our November Ho‘ohana.

A Mahalo 3by3: Appreciation, Gratitude, Thankfulness.

Comments

  1. says

    Rosa – taking time to be grateful is an essential muscle to develop. Here’s a little variation on that theme. Recently I attended a 3-day intensive. As part of the follow-up, the facilitator requested that we each note down 5 successes (there’s that number “5” again) each night before we go to bed. It’s interesting for me, because I rarely acknowledge the little gains. This exercise helps me to look at the seemingly ordinary things I do every day that move me forward, and to appreciate that. And gradually I’m learning to appreciate myself.

  2. says

    Mahalo for sharing this Deb; I really like the thought of gratitude as a “muscle to develop” for it does empower you in so many ways.
    The exercise you mention is one I have found very useful in my coaching of junior level managers and new supervisors in building their confidence. It helps them see how they do in fact matter, and how they make a difference in a variety of ways much larger than their present sight of them. It also brings them to a realization of how many people they can affect, not just their direct reports, and with a focus on the positive — the wins. Management is a hard gig, but it is also a very rewarding one.