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Catch and Don’t Release: That Gratitude Attitude!

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It’s been twenty years now since a caring neighbor and friend challenged me to change my ATTITUDE.  It was a difficult time for me as suddenly my life became filled with darkness, doubt and pain.  My Spouse of almost 20 years had recently been diagnosed as having a brain tumor and given only a few months to live.  While he was fighting a battle to survive for as long as possible by receiving daily treatments of both Chemo and Radiation, I was trying to continue to raise five children and eventually became a caregiver of a man who couldn’t even remember how to brush his teeth.
My friend encouraged me to read and study a book that contained wise advice, “Simple Abundance  A Daybook of Comfort and Joy,”  She provided me with a beautiful Journal and instructed me to take a few minutes each day to write down 5 things that I was grateful for.  Although at the time I doubted that such a simple task could improve my mood and change my ATTITIUDE  I took on the challenge.  As I began to focus on what I HAD rather than what I lacked my burdens became lighter and my soul was filled with joy and hope.  Now 20 years later this small and simple task has become not only a habit but a ritual I look forward to performing.
Remember there is no right or wrong way to keep a gratitude journal.  While doing so you will discover what works best for you, but here are some tips:
1-  Keep a physical record.  Write things down.  Just don’t think about these things in your head.
2-  Look for the small things that may seem trivial,small or unimportant.
3-  Include a narrative as to WHY you are grateful.
4-  Focus on people as well as things you are grateful for.
5-  Record unexpected events or surprises.
6-  Write regularly.  Commit to a certain day and or time and be consistent.  New evidence has shown that writing 1-3 times a week can be more effective than writing daily,
7-  Set a goal to write for at least 15 minutes each time.
8- Try it!  You’ll  like it!
It’s easy to take the people who we love and the good things in our lives for granted.  Keeping a gratitude journal will improve your relationships with others, improve your sense of well being, and enable you to enjoy greater happiness and better health.
So… Catch but DON’T release that “GRATITUDE ATTITUDE!”  Doing so has made an incredible difference in my life and it can in yours too.
Sue Hodges  LCSW Wasatch Family Therapy

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