This might sound cheesy but I don’t care. Last year, while reading Dale Carnegie’s HOW TO STOP WORRYING AND START LIVING (the virtues of which I’ve extolled here in the past), I decided to follow his advice to keep an ongoing journal of three things a day that I’m thankful for. Whether you want to thank God for your blessings, or simply write down three positives you can think of every day, I believe this is a worthwhile exercise.
Especially because sometimes, it’s really difficult to do. Maybe because sometimes it’s really difficult to do.
I’ve been trying to keep this up and for some dumb reason, I seem to take Saturday and Sunday off (possibly because my routine isn’t the same on those days and we can be off first thing in the morning on a day trip, or I could be treated to breakfast in bed, or whatever, but I know I’m bad about this inconsistency and I need to sort it).
I’ve been doing it pretty much every Monday-Friday for several months now, and my journal is starting to fill up. My way of approaching it is writing three numbered items from the previous day that I’m thankful for, or from today. Things as simple as, “I’m thankful the sun is shining” (I’m definitely a SAD-sufferer so sunshine is a major thing for me, especially in this country where it’s cloudy or rains 99.9999% of the time), or “I’m thankful for the customer service person yesterday being really helpful instead of telling me what they can’t do.”
Sometimes they’re much larger entries, like yesterday’s. Yesterday I had one that was 2 pages long, where I wrote out exactly what very sweet gesture my fiance’ did that made me so grateful to be with him, but also so I could look back and remember the details of the thing I’m thankful for.
It might sound obvious but I’m seeing that this exercise–when done relatively early on in the day–makes me more optimistic and cheery for the remainder of the day. I definitely notice a difference on the days I don’t. And if for no other reason, when you’re in the dumps you can look back through the pages and see that you really do have a lot to be thankful for, even if you’ve just received another query rejection or someone who’s had your manuscript for 8 months has just written back a one word reply: “Pass” (No, this last one hasn’t happened to me as no one’s requested pages-yet!).
A lot of times I think, “These are all such insignificant things,” but no matter how rubbish a day I’m having, I always manage to find at least 3 things to write down and it’s really been helping me. So I encourage you to give it a try! Try it for one week and tell me if you don’t start to feel even a teensy bit more positive afterwards.
(Photo credit: me-as always :)-I believe taken from the top of the 2nd highest peak in the UK, Ben Macdui, after we’d already conquered Ben Nevis.