One of my New Year’s projects was to begin keeping a gratitude journal, which was probably inevitable given all the issues of the Oprah magazine I’ve read over the years and Oprah’s intense focus on gratitude.
I resisted doing this for a long time, quite honestly, because the connotations of it, the way it’s often talked about, in a kind of vibrations manifesting way that is a little off-putting for me. But then I do honestly believe that you have to figure out what is important to you, and then move those values into the center of your life, as much as possible, which is very kind of woo-woo, Reverb 10 thing to think. So I guess you could say I’m alternately drawn to and repelled by this kind of thinking.
However, after keeping a gratitude journal for the past few months, I can honestly say it’s become a truly valuable part of my end-of-day routine. It helps me sum up my day, focus on the positive, and remember what worked well for me that day, in addition to how to think about negative events in more positive ways. What I’m grateful for has varied from strength and patience to banana bread and “Glee” (especially all the episodes featuring Kurt’s dad!), and I enjoy mixing the tangible and the abstract. I think it’s helped me gain perspective when days have been tough, and helped me clear my mind when anxiety threatens to keep me up too late.
Is it a perfect solution? No. Have I missed days? Yes. But it has made a measurable and definite impact on my life, and I look forward to continuing it. It looks exactly like the notebook in the photo, and I think it will be wonderful to read it at the end of the year and reflect on the year. I think sometimes too about doing something similar with my kids, but I haven’t totally worked that out yet.
Recently, I read an interesting post about work journals, which is very intriguing to me as well. I think I do a lot of reflecting about teaching here and in general, but writing about actual school events and politics is not something I would ever do in this space. But in a Moleskine I keep by my bed, next to my gratitude journal? That is definitely an intriguing idea.
What about you–are you a journaler?