Gratitude Journals

Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 42

Another week, another opportunity to think about the blessings I’m grateful for. Happily, I had plenty of little joys this week, but instead of naming those, I decided to focus on a couple of the less obvious, more challenging sources of gratitude.

♥ I’m grateful to have been able to hug my firstborn for the first time in seven weeks. It was great to have him home from college for the weekend, as well as welcome his friends into our home. He expressed how grateful he is to be going to college, how appreciative he is of the experiences that led him there and how comfy it was to sleep in his own bed and use…

Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 40

Anything I’d write on this Gratitude Friday would seem trite compared with the words my oldest son wrote yesterday after sheltering in place at the U.S. Capitol. A college freshman, Ben is an intern in the office of Congressman Tim Griffin from Arkansas, and because he’s unpaid, his help is greatly appreciated during the shutdown that has furloughed most Congressional staffers. Ben was on the street outside the Capitol when yesterday’s shooting occurred, causing the area to be placed on lockdown.

I am tremendously grateful that he was safe and unharmed—and that he kept in touch with me throughout a particularly frightening hour of his life. With Ben’s permission, here’s his story.


Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 39

I’m innately a big “thanker” and I love this piece about how to give a meaningful thank you. While it’s specifically about showing gratitude and appreciation toward employees, the concept is universal: the folks who help you and your family on a daily basis—the cashier at CVS, the dishwasher repair guy, your daughter’s karate instructor—don’t hear “thank you” often enough. While you might be thinking that paying the person is thanks enough, everyone appreciates the motivating effects of a genuine “thank you.” So think about spreading the happiness with a heartfelt thank you to someone who has gone above and beyond for you this week.

Who and what am I grateful for this week? Here ya go:

♥ I’m…

Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 38

Making gratitude a key part of your life can pay amazing happiness dividends. Study after study shows that the longest-lasting boosts of happiness come from writing a gratitude journal, and interestingly, the greatest increases in happiness often come six months into keeping a journal.

This happened to be one of those garden variety weeks where the days sorta blended together and nothing in particular stood out. Yet when I think about it, I’ve still got some great moments for which I’m grateful:

>> I felt blessed to be in the company of almost all the people I love most in this world last weekend on Yom Kippur, with the added bonus of speaking or texting with…

Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 37

This week marked the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and it has become an important day of national remembrance and gratitude. Gratitude is an instinctive emotion to express in the wake of adversity—in fact, in the days immediately following the 2001 tragedy, gratitude was found to be the second most common experienced emotion, after sympathy. The ability to appreciate your life circumstances is a powerful coping strategy during stress and trauma, and while we remember with such pain the events of that horrific day, gratitude helps us to heal a bit and gives us the strength to move on.

Here’s what’s on my gratitude list this week:

>> I have so many dedicated,…

Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 36

Since I can’t possibly top yesterday’s epic gratitude list, I’m not even going to try. Instead, I have an awesome video to share with you from SoulPancake titled “The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude.” I don’t cry easily, but the beautiful moments captured in this piece brought tears of happiness. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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What a week of transition! It’s not particularly fun going from 0-60 in 24 hours, but hey, I don’t set the school calendar, and ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Once we get into a routine, though, I thrive on our crazy-busy life. A couple more weeks and we’ll get into the groove.

It was a wonderful week filled with gratitude:

>> It’s an amazing feeling to bring your firstborn to college. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity he has for learning and spiritual growth, the warm and gracious welcome we received at school, the kindness of his roommate and his family, the other lovely new families we met, the magnificent new student convocation ceremony,…

Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 34

You may have noticed the blurbs in my gratitude journal have gotten longer over the past month. That’s because I learned from gratitude expert Robert Emmons in Gratitude Works! that there’s a nice benefit to being more descriptive: you get to relive the things you’re grateful for not only when you’re writing about them—but when you reread them months and years down the road. The more details you can add, the more vivid a picture you’re creating, and that can result in a bigger boost of happiness, especially when you’re looking back and may have forgotten some of the specifics. It also helps prevent gratitude fatigue. As Emmons writes, “Go for depth over breadth. The journal…

This week I stumbled on a quick, effective cure for a case of the crankies: expressing gratitude. Yup. I was spending time at the beach with someone who was wasting a beautiful day and sublime setting by complaining about literally everything under the sun. After a while, I had no patience for listening to the silly self-imagined misery any longer, and I interrupted him. “Hey, I have a question for you,” I began. “Can you name three things you’re grateful for?” Instantly, his tone softened. “Well, sure,” he said, launching into a  list that went far beyond three items. By the time he was done a few minutes later, he was relaxed, laughing and realizing that he…

Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 32

Living a grateful life can make you happier for a bunch of reasons. Here are three important ones:

It reminds you of the positive things in your life, including the great people you’re lucky to have surrounding you and the blessings you’ve received.

It can turn negative things into positive ones. Rough day or week at work? Be grateful you have a job, that you have an opportunity to learn and grow, that you can use the challenges to become a stronger person.

It encourages you to thank others. Expressing sincere appreciation feels good—both for you and the person you’re thanking.

Here’s what I’m grateful for this week:

>> Having all my boys home together for the first time…