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This is my gratitude journal.

gratitude journal

For five months, I came up with three new things to be grateful for everyday. I wrote them all down on a giant sheet of paper on my bedroom wall.

The Results

During the first few days, the gratitude journal was too easy. It didn’t feel meaningful because to start, I just rattled off the most generic things to be grateful for–“#1. A great family, #2. good health, #3. great friends etc.” It was only when I couldn’t come up with any more off the top of my head when things got interesting. Remaining committed to the challenge quickly began to positively affect how I experienced my daily life. 

With the gratitude freebies gone, the remainder of the journal entries had to come from specific events that took place throughout the day. Although there was never a guarantee that three unique things worth writing down would happen, it somehow always did.

Here are a few examples of such everyday blessings:

  • Finding parking in the Mission within 3 minutes on a Saturday night.
  • Having the perfect song pop up on shuffle when I needed a boost during a run.
  • Making eye contact and getting a smile from a stranger to instantly lift me out of a random funk that I was in that day.
  • Seeing a happy old couple eating lunch together in a park, and knowing that I want to be like that some day.up-disneyscreencaps.com-7945
  • Getting the ONE nice person at the DMV who hooked it up by letting me know about a loophole to lower my late registration fees.
  • Finding my favorite pair of Uniqlo jeans online on clearance for 50% off with only one left in stock–and it happens to be my size!

When I made it a point to always be on the lookout for the good, I began paying closer attention in every moment. Even mundane actions like getting in the elevator, or walking to the ATM, carried the potential for some amazing thing to happen in my favor. With this excited anticipation, my mind started filtering the world in a new, more positive way, and that made me feel happier. Since I was happier, I smiled more (all the time), and it made me friendlier. As I looked for things to be grateful for, it only became natural to want to help others be happy and have something to be grateful for too. Whenever I felt the need to act, I did. These included simple actions such as holding the door open for someone carrying groceries, or letting a car merge into my lane during rush hour, or an entry like this one:

  • All the tables were full at the Costco food court so I shared a table with a lonely old man and listened to his stories instead of politely walking away. Turned out to be the best decision of the day. Awesome!

Feeling gratitude without comparing to others

It’s easy to think that you are feeling real gratitude by comparing yourself to someone less fortunate than you. Anyone can see a homeless person on the street or a car accident on the freeway and think, “Thank God I’m not them! Lucky me!”

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But this is not gratitude. It is an ego-boosting thought of superiority. When we compare or judge someone as superior or inferior to us, we deny the sanctity of that person and ourselves. Such thoughts give strength to the ego and the illusion of separation. It fuels the “us vs them” or the “me vs. the world” mentality, which crushes the ability for true vision– the perception of the oneness of all things.

Comparing is also a trap towards inevitable unhappiness. There will always be someone out there better than you to make you feel inferior. Finding happiness from within is liberating. True independence occurs when your thoughts and emotions are not at the mercy of external factors. You become the captain of your soul and the guardian of your joy.

Constantly watching out for things to be grateful for in itself made me feel more grateful. It made me a miracle hunter. Not only did I notice how people were friendlier when I had this active gratitude mindset, but I began to notice more and more favorable coincidences happening everyday. They became so frequent, and often almost unbelievable that I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. My gratitude journal ended up evolving into a coincidence journal, which is also a life-changing habit to adopt.

Having gratitude in your heart is the only way to be happy and at peace with your life. I’ve also found that the stronger my gratitude mindset became, the more I began to love myself and life. When you exude such inner love, miracles happen in your outer world. It’s a fun way to live!

Photo Sources: 1, 2

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