Gratitude

This January I decided to start bullet journaling. I was always the type of person who kept notes everywhere, I had sticky notes in every room, digital notes in five separate places between by laptop and phone; I would start recording certain things in a journal, just to forget and start using a different one, only to then come back to the original, and use it for something else.

Needless to say, there was a lot of effort expended for very little benefit. I’d often stumble across an important note months after I needed it, or an inspirational quote scribbled down to use in an essay only to find it years after the essay was submitted.

As I was attempting to be productive one morning by scrolling around on the internet, (very productive, I know) I stumbled on a video about bullet journaling. It caught my attention because it was a simple way of keeping everything together, and gathering significant data on myself (all of my fellow scientists and trekkies will understand my love of data). I created a few tabs that I took from the creator of the video, and made several more based on individual items I personally was interested in.

So far, I’ve loved this little experiment in journaling, and the most influential part has actually been my gratitude log. Every morning, just after waking up, I open the journal and scribble down something I’m grateful for. It’s simple, easy, and profound. After a good day, it come naturally. Of COURSE there’s so much to be grateful for, the world is a beautiful, wonderful place and it’s a great time to be alive… After bad days, it’s not quite so easy… But I still make a note, even if it takes an hour to think of something to be grateful for, I think about it and I write it down.

Now, I’ve read studies about practicing gratitude and the psychological and even neurological effects it has on people, I’ve heard certain individuals rave about what a difference it has made in their lives. I never gave any of it much though. Honestly, I always thought, how can anything so simple make such a difference? I’m not sure how to justify it, but it does.

Maybe it just forces you to focus more on positives rather then negatives.. Maybe it’s just hard to be upset at a broken glass after you spent an hour this morning walking around wrapped in three blankets convincing yourself that you are actually grateful for the cold for stimulating your nervous system and waking you up in the morning, giving you the opportunity to see the winter sun crest over the horizon. Maybe it’s something else.. All I can say is that it’s working, and I hope everyone takes a moment every day to think about what they have to give thanks for. Maybe if we all take a moment away from the stress and chaos of the day to express a little gratitude, the world will be a little happier place for us all.

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