Emotional Regulation 12: Gratitude

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I keep a journal, I write in it maybe once a week, and only if there’s something really juicy to write about. Some people are able to keep a daily journal and some really amazing people keep a daily gratitude journal. You might have heard of it.

Keeping a gratitude journal is an effective way to keep track of all the positives in your life as a daily practice, and have a record of your daily positives to look back on when your mood gets really dark. You can start by simply writing down as little as three things you’re grateful for at the end of the day. Repeats are allowed, it is your journal after all, you can do it however you like.

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I am grateful for Spock

The point is to train your brain into a more positive default in your life and decrease the amount of rumination over the negatives in your life. This is not to say you should ignore the negatives, that would be impossible. It’s to make sure there is at least a balance of positive and negative in your life, and keeping a gratitude journal is a scientifically proven way to improve your mood in the short term and the long term.

It can be a white board on your fridge that you put one or two words on at a time, it can be Dickensian prose in a leather bound tome. However you want to do it.

Some things I’m grateful for are my family and friends, my houseplants, delicious food, beer at the end of a busy day, Rick and Morty, my kids being potty-trained (finally), my ability to drive, my husband doing my taxes, warm socks, studio ghibli films, the teachers at my kids’ school, Terry Pratchett books, my education, the internet, my kids enjoying Monty Python, nail polish, Led Zepplin, The laws of conservation, birdsong, ice cream, etc.

Start by just writing down a few things and see how far you get. Try it two days in a row and pay attention to your state of emotions before and again after the exercise. You’re likely to find an improvement, and its okay if there isn’t, but remember the point is to train your brain to find positivity even when things seem bleak. Check the facts of your situation and consult your wise mind as to what you can do to improve your situation. Then sit back and luxuriate in a life you’ve built that is worth living.

Grumpy cat gratitude