Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "Gratitude Journal"

"Gratitude Journal"


(This article appeared in the January issue of the Nebraska Family Times.Even though the "official" day for resolutions--Jan. 1st--has passed, I challenge you to begin a Gratitude Journal. "Counting my blessings" every day helps me realize how truly blessed I am--and it will do the same for you. If you would like a FREE sample copy of the Nebraska Family Times, e-mail shelly@shellyburke.net. Please include the address to which you'd like the sample copy sent.


The Bible commands us to be thankful. Psalm 106:1 says, Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1 repeats the command, as does Psalm 136:1.  And God truly is good. He gives us the greatest blessings in life—eternal life through the death of His son. He also gives us our faith, family, friends, homes, and on and on. 

The Bible also tells us we should be always giving thanks…for everything (Eph. 5:20) and we should “give thanks in all circumstances(1 Thess. 5:18). Always” and “in all circumstances”—not just when we’re having a good day. 

Obviously the biggest benefit of giving thanks is obeying and honoring our Lord. But there are other benefits as well. 

Research has shown that people who made a list of three to five things they were grateful for every day were more optimistic about the future and felt better about their lives overall than people who recorded daily hassles or negative happenings. Listing things daily resulted in a greater increase in gratitude than only doing so weekly.  Some research shows that feelings of thankfulness can help reduce stress; stress is linked with many illnesses, including heart disease. 


Grateful people are usually more optimistic than others, and some researchers say that being optimistic helps boost the immune system. This means that people who are thankful may become ill less often. A thankful attitude has also been linked to quicker recovery after surgery or when sick An “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better sleep, a decrease in anxiety and depression, kinder behavior toward others, higher satisfaction with life in general, and overall better health. When we focus on gratitude, even for small things, our thinking shifts to being more positive in general.  


One of my goals for 2012 is to list 5 things I’m thankful for, every day. Will you join me in starting a “Gratitude Journal”?  Choose a notebook or journal, big or small, fancy or plain, and take a few minutes every day to jot down 3-5 things you’re thankful for. You could also make your list on your calendar. Your list can be in phrases, complete sentences, or even paragraphs. But keep it simple so you’ll find it easy to do every day.


If you would like, share part of your journal with me. Every month in 2012 I’ll be listing some of the things I am thankful for, and/or contributions from readers. Just e-mail me at shelly@shellyburke.net with what you are grateful for—it can be one thing or several. 

Here's what I was thankful for yesterday, April 10th, 2012:
  1. I got to talk to Cody several times; he needed information faxed to him so he could finish his taxes. It's always nice to hear his voice.
  2. I got several hugs from Morgan; she's 18 and almost ready to graduate and sometimes hugs are rare!
  3. It was a beautiful spring day and I got to spend some time outside; even the usual Nebraska wind wasn't blowing!
  4. My refrigerator is full of plenty of food--and leftovers, so I didn't have to cook!
  5. Our beagle, Jenny, who is always ready to cuddle when I'm feeling down. 
What are YOU thankful for today?
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I'm also blogging at Home is Where the Mom Is
Check out the post today, titled
"Just say "NO"!"


5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. It is fun to read your posts as well. I know what you mean about so many good posts ... So much to read so little time :) Have a great evening,
    Bj

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  2. Stopping by via the A to Z Challenge. I enjoyed your post!

    Dana
    www.dana-thedailydose.blogspot.com

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  3. Thank you both for stopping by and commenting!

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  4. I started a gratitude journal this year too! It has really helped keep me positive!

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  5. When I'm having (what I think is) a bad day, I start writing down my blessings...and it doesn't take long to realize how much I have to be thankful for!

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Thank you for your comments!