Yes, taking five minutes each day to write 3-5 things that made us happy can make a difference in our attitude. And in our life!
I wrote a blog recently about mantras to help you out when you're experiencing a difficult moment. I added some thoughts on happiness journals as well, and I realized I could probably do an entire blog about happiness journals, so here we go!
I had decided earlier in my blog-writing history to write about happiness journals, but thought that probably wasn't necessary.......most of my readers are grandparents and people of a "certain age." We're in our golden years and conventional wisdom tells us, that means our "happy" years. But that's not always the case. Even those of us who consider ourselves happy and content, have times of distress, worry and depression. We miss our children, our grandchildren, old friends. We have health issues that bring about distress and anxiety. Those bad knees or arthritic hips make us downhearted. The list goes on and on. Even when you're going through a difficult situation, you can find small moments of happiness and gratitude. My friend always reminds me that the Apostle Paul when he was emprisoned looked for things that brought him happiness. And we've all read about Nelson Mandela who was in prison for 27 years in South Africa found joy in his jail cell.
The old adage says, "Bloom where you are planted!" So let's do this.
I told you in a recent blog that a friend had told me about happiness journals. Then I saw Shawn Achor on a talk show telling about the same thing, and I was sold on the concept. Shawn is a teaching assistant at Harvard University and taught a course on happiness. He's also written numerous books on the subject including, The Happiness Advantage and The Happiness Project. I'll link some websites at the end of my blog. Shawn says keeping such a journal on happiness or gratitude for a month actually rewires the brain. It resets it to look for small moments that bring you joy. And as we've heard over and over, gratitude in small things is the key to happiness.
So it's pretty straightforward. Just find a little journal or notebook and start recording those things. And really, they are tiny little things........not necessarily big moments like a birthday party, but small things, like the smell of popcorn popping in the microwave.
Don't want to go to all the trouble of having a journal set aside for "moments of gratitude"? Then just add some pages to your date book.
Yes, I still keep a paper calendar or date book. I like the idea of writing things down in a date book and checking it each day. I realize there are phone apps, but I still like the act of writing things down on paper. So since I still have an appointment with my calendar first thing in the morning and the last thing in the evening, I used some of the extra pages for writing things that made me happy. Here, I'll let you take a look:
I took photos of things that make me happy, so that you can see they are very simple things. Just some small moments that can really lift your mood on a down day.
But wait! There's more!!
You can even get online, and Google "gratitude journals," and find writing prompts that can help you along in your happiness quest. Here are some sample questions:
I love gratitude journals. They just help you to refocus on the things that are really important. Writing your small blessings can reduce stress and help you to live in the moment. It can lift your mood on a down day, or even when you're going through really difficult times. Even during those times you can find something to be grateful for.
Want to read more about them? Try this article from the Huffington Post:
I'll end today's blog with one of my favorite things I'm grateful for: SUNSETS! Being a west Texas gal, from the home of the world's most glorious sunsets, I love them. I always try to make each list of my five happy things unique and try not to repeat, but sunsets make my list more times than I can count. Here's one from my sweet niece, Lisa~
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!